Diagnosis of Haemolytic Anaemia

There are different causes of hemolytic anemia, and therefore, a lot of different tests used to diagnose it. Your doctor will first study your medical history and your family history before performing any other medical tests on you. Here’s what you can expect.

  • Medical and Family History: Hemolytic anemia is often genetic. Therefore, the doctor will ask you for a detailed medical history to find out if anyone in your family has ever suffered from it. Your doctor may also ask you detailed questions about your ailments and your symptoms to find out whether they indicate anemia. They may also check to find out if you have any congenital defects or problems which may cause hemolytic anemia.
  • Detailed Physical Examination: Your doctor will perform a physical examination to check if you have abdominal pain, pain in the liver area, or an enlarged spleen, all of which could cause hemolytic anemia. Your doctor will also listen to your heart to check for any arrhythmias or murmuring sounds.
  • Complete Blood Count: This is the most essential blood test as this can ascertain the number of red blood cells you have. This test is not only used to confirm a diagnosis, but is also used to check the severity of anemia. However, it is difficult to find out whether you have hemolytic anemia or any other kind of anemia from a complete blood count alone.
  • Reticulocyte Count: Once the doctor suspects or confirms anemia, the next step is to find out which type of anemia you have. This test measures the age of red blood cells and evaluates the number of young red blood cells in your blood. This helps the doctor determine whether your body is able to synthesize the appropriate amount of red blood cells.
  • Peripheral Smear: This is another blood test in which the shape of the red blood cells is scrutinized to find any anomalies.
  • Liver Function Tests: This is an entire panel of tests that not only checks the functioning of the liver but also the amount of haptoglobin and bilirubin released into the blood. Both these are byproducts produced when red blood cells are broken down.
  • Hemoglobin Electrophoresis: Finally, an electrophoresis is performed to see the different kinds of hemoglobin available in the blood. This helps diagnose the type of anemia you may have.