Profound autoimmune hemolysis and Evans syndrome in two asplenic patients with babesiosis

Transfusion. 2015 Mar;55(3):661-5. doi: 10.1111/trf.12901. Epub 2014 Oct 29.


Background: Evans syndrome (ES) is characterized by the simultaneous or sequential presence of multiple autoimmune cytopenias. It is often secondary to rheumatologic disorders or lymphoid malignancies, but has not previously been associated with babesiosis. Here we present two cases of severe cytopenias in asplenic patients precipitated by active babesiosis.

Case report: The first patient had a history of Hodgkin's lymphoma in remission and autoimmune hemolytic anemia (AIHA) treated by splenectomy 12 years prior who presented with severe AIHA and thrombocytopenia after Babesia infection. The second patient had a history of ES requiring splenectomy, which relapsed after Babesia infection.

Results: The complex presentation and medical histories of both patients made the diagnosis challenging. Both patients' cytopenias responded to therapy, although the use of immunosuppressive agents in patients with active hematologic infections was challenging and required a multidisciplinary approach.

Conclusion: These two cases illustrate the possibility of babesiosis to not only reactivate ES in asplenic patients, but also precipitate increased levels of immune deregulation, potentially provoking ES, a phenomenon not previously reported.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Anemia, Hemolytic, Autoimmune / etiology*
  • Anemia, Hemolytic, Autoimmune / surgery
  • Babesiosis / complications*
  • Babesiosis / diagnosis
  • Blood Transfusion
  • Female
  • Hodgkin Disease / complications
  • Humans
  • Immunocompromised Host
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Parasitemia / complications*
  • Parasitemia / diagnosis
  • Remission Induction
  • Splenectomy / adverse effects
  • Thrombocytopenia / etiology*
  • Thrombocytopenia / surgery

Supplementary concepts

  • Evans Syndrome