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Cold Agglutinin Disease

more about Cold Agglutinin Disease

  • Cold agglutinin disease is a type of hemolytic anemia, which is a disease characterized by decreased red blood cells (the oxygen carrying cells) due to their destruction.
  • It is caused by the body mistakenly making antibodies (of the IgM type) against a component (the I antigen) of red blood cells. The unusual feature of this disease is that at normal body temperature (98.6F) the hemolysis does not occur, but rather, only at lower temperatures. Therefore, peripheral areas of the body that are cooler, such as the fingertips, nose, and ears, are most likely to be affected. Most cases of cold agglutinin disease are mild, though rarely it may cause a severe hemolytic anemia.

  • Mottled or numb fingers or toes on exposure to cold

  • Laboratory
    1. Complete blood count shows mild anemia, reticulocytosis, and spherocytes
    2. Direct Coombs test will be positive for complement only
    3. Bedside cold agglutinin test

  • Avoid exposure to cold
  • Severe cases may require Chlorambucil or similar medication
  • High dose intravenous immunoglobulin or interferon may help some severe cases.

more about Cold Agglutinin Disease

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