Infrequent Thrombotic Complications in Japanese Patients with Warm Autoimmune Hemolytic Anemia

Intern Med. 2022 Sep 28. doi: 10.2169/internalmedicine.0541-22. Online ahead of print.


Objective Patients with autoimmune hemolytic anemia (AIHA) are considered to be at an increased risk of thrombosis, and prophylaxis for venous thromboembolism (VTE) is often recommended. However, the occurrence of thrombosis in Asian patients has not been specifically studied. Thrombotic complications and features of Japanese warm AIHA (WAIHA) patients were studied to see if Japanese patients were at an increased risk of thrombosis and should receive prophylaxis for VTE. Patients and Methods Forty-seven consecutive patients with warm WAIHA were retrospectively studied. Twenty-nine patients were diagnosed as primary cases and 18 as secondary cases, and 10 patients were diagnosed with Evans syndrome. Results No patient presented with thrombosis, and over a median observation period of 15 months, 3 patients had ischemic cerebral vascular accidents. However, all three of those patients had other known risks for thrombosis, with only one taking thrombotic prophylaxis. No venous thrombosis occurred in any patients during the follow-up period. There was no mortality associated with thrombosis. D-dimer levels were often elevated in patients with WAIHA, indicating that the coagulation was activated in a considerable number of patients, but not to such a level as to be associated with clinically overt thrombosis. Conclusion Thrombotic complications occur infrequently in Japanese WAIHA patients, and these individuals do not appear to be at a particularly increased risk of thrombosis because of WAIHA. The indication of VTE prophylaxis should be determined individually, considering other risks.

Keywords: Evans syndrome; autoimmune hemolytic anemia; prophylaxis; thrombosis; venous thromboembolism.