The treatment of hemolytic anemia will be tailored to the underlying cause. Mild cases of hemolytic anemia may not require any treatment at all. If an offending environmental agent can be identified -- a chemical, for example -- exposure to this agent should stop immediately. People with hemolytic anemia may need surgery to replace faulty heart valves, remove a tumor, or repair abnormal blood vessels.
Supportive treatment -- like intravenous fluids and pain medication -- will often be given. A blood transfusion may be necessary in some cases. Steroids can halt the body's immune attack on its own red blood cells. Certain damaging factors can be removed from the blood by a treatment called plasmapheresis.
If hemolytic anemia persists despite treatment, your doctor may recommend splenectomy -- surgical removal of the spleen -- as a last resort. Most people can lead a normal life without their spleen.
Gallbladder surgery may also be required if you have longstanding hemolytic anemia and symptoms of gallstones. Hemolytic anemia that damages the kidneys may make dialysis necessary. In extremely rare cases, bone marrow transplantation may be the only solution for certain types of hemolytic anemia.
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Archived: March 20, 2014
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