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Hemolytic Anemia


Hemolytic anemia is a condition that causes your red blood cells to die sooner than normal. Your bone marrow cannot make new red blood cells fast enough to replace the ones that have died. Hemolytic anemia can be a short-term or long-term problem.


Informed consent

is a legal document that explains the tests, treatments, or procedures that you may need. Informed consent means you understand what will be done and can make decisions about what you want. You give your permission when you sign the consent form. You can have someone sign this form for you if you are not able to sign it. You have the right to understand your medical care in words you know. Before you sign the consent form, understand the risks and benefits of what will be done. Make sure all your questions are answered.


You may need to rest. Your healthcare provider will tell you when it is okay to increase your activities. Call your healthcare provider before you get up for the first time. If you ever feel weak or dizzy, sit or lie down right away. Then call your healthcare provider.

Heart monitor:

This is also called an ECG or EKG. Sticky pads placed on your skin record your heart's electrical activity.

You may need extra oxygen

if your blood oxygen level is lower than it should be. You may get oxygen through a mask placed over your nose and mouth or through small tubes placed in your nostrils. Ask your healthcare provider before you take off the mask or oxygen tubing.

A pulse oximeter

is a device that measures the amount of oxygen in your blood. A cord with a clip or sticky strip is placed on your finger, ear, or toe. The other end of the cord is hooked to a machine.


  • Bone marrow stimulants, or growth factor medicines, help trigger your bone marrow to start making new red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelets. Platelets are the sticky part of your blood that help form clots to stop bleeding.
  • Immunosuppressants help prevent your body from attacking its own bone marrow. This may help the bone marrow make more blood cells.
  • Antibiotics are given to prevent or fight a bacterial infection.
  • Antipyretics are used to reduce a fever.
  • Folic acid is a vitamin that may help your body make more blood cells.
  • Iron replacement is given to refill your body's iron supply. Iron may cause your bowel movements to be dark green or black. You may also have diarrhea or constipation from the iron. Do not stop taking it unless your healthcare provider tells you to.
  • Pain medicine may be given. Do not wait until the pain is severe before you ask for more medicine.
  • Steroids may be needed to treat a health problem that is causing your hemolytic anemia. For example, steroids may be used to help treat an autoimmune disorder. Steroids may help decrease the number of red blood cells being destroyed by your body.


  • Blood tests are used to monitor the growth of your blood cells. This will help healthcare providers know what treatment is best for you.
  • A bone marrow biopsy is a procedure used to take a sample of bone marrow. This will help healthcare providers know which types of blood cells are low.
  • Chest x-ray: This is a picture of your lungs and heart. Caregivers use it to see how your lungs and heart are doing. Caregivers may use the x-ray to look for signs of infection like pneumonia, or to look for collapsed lungs. Chest x-rays may show tumors, broken ribs, or fluid around the heart and lungs.
  • Telemetry is continuous monitoring of your heart rhythm. Sticky pads placed on your skin connect to an EKG machine that records your heart rhythm.
  • Ultrasound pictures may be used to examine the organs inside your abdomen. Healthcare providers will look to see if your spleen or liver have grown too large because of the hemolytic anemia. Sound waves are used to show pictures of your abdomen on a monitor.


  • A blood transfusion may be needed to replace blood you have lost. You may need more than one transfusion.
  • A bone marrow or stem cell transplant is a procedure used to replace your stem cells with healthy cells. Stem cells are the part of the bone marrow that make red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelets. The transplanted stem cells return to the bone marrow, grow, and start producing new blood cells.
  • Surgery may be used remove your spleen if it gets too large. Your spleen may get larger as it works harder to remove broken down red blood cells. As the spleen gets larger, even more cells are broken down.


Treatment may be slow to work, or may not work at all. This can be life-threatening. Ask your healthcare provider for more information about the risks of hemolytic anemia.


You have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your caregivers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment.

© 2016 Truven Health Analytics Inc. Information is for End User's use only and may not be sold, redistributed or otherwise used for commercial purposes. All illustrations and images included in CareNotes® are the copyrighted property of A.D.A.M., Inc. or Truven Health Analytics.

The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.