South African Journal of Child Health

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Neonatal haemolytic anaemia – a diagnostic approach to red cell membrane disorders

L Swart, E Schapkaitz, J Poole, T L Coetzer


In neonates presenting with a non-immune haemolytic anaemia, a high index of suspicion is raised for hereditary red cell membrane disorders. The distinction between red cell membrane disorders, however, is often difficult in neonates in the absence of a complete family history. We describe a case of a 26-day-old female twin who presented with jaundice and severe haemolysis, which required multiple red cell transfusions. Laboratory investigations revealed a non-immune haemolysis. Red cell membrane extraction and sodium dodecyl sulphate-polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis analysis, including spectrin analysis, revealed the presence of mutant spectrin αI/74. A diagnosis of hereditary elliptocytosis with transient infantile poikilocytosis was favoured. On follow-up at 4 months, a decline in haemolysis was observed.
AJOL African Journals Online