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Immune hemolytic anemia

  • Alternative Names

    Anemia - immune hemolytic; Autoimmune hemolytic anemia (AIHA)


    Treatment with a steroid medication such as prednisone is usually the first therapy tried. If a steroid medication does not improve the condition, removal of the spleen (splenectomy) may be considered. Treatments with drugs that suppress the immune system (immunosuppressants) may also be given if you do not respond to steroids.

    Blood transfusions, if needed for severe anemia, are given with caution because the blood may not be compatible and it may cause further hemolysis.

    Support Groups

    Expectations (prognosis)

    The disease may start quickly and be very serious, or it may remain mild and not need specific treatment.

    In most people, steroids or splenectomy can control anemia. In others, treatment can usually partially control the anemia.


    Severe anemia rarely leads to death. Severe infection may occur as a complication of treatment with steroids, other medications that suppress the immune system, or splenectomy, because these treatments impair the body's ability to fight infection.

    Calling your health care provider

    Call your health care provider if you have unexplained fatigue or chest pain, or signs of infection.