Difference between revisions of "Paroxysmal nocturnal hemoglobinuria"

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{{Hemolytic anemia DDX}}
{{Hemolytic anemia DDX}}
*Negative Coombs test
*Negative Coombs test

Revision as of 19:26, 24 July 2016


  • Intravascular hemolysis caused by increased sensitivity of RBCs to hemolytic action of complement


  • Abnormal PIG-A gene > defect in GPI-linked anchor > partial/complete absence of GPI-linked proteins (mainly CD55 and CD59) > increased sensitivity of RBCs to hemolytic action of complement
  • Hemolysis precipitated by stresses that activate complement (eg infection)
    • Nocturnal hemolysis attributed to intestinal absorption of lipopolysaccharide (strong activator of complement) at night

Clinical Features

  • Intravascular hemolysis
  • Renal failure (both from intravascular hemolysis causing AKI and chronic hemolysis causing iron deposition in kidneys)
  • DVT, thrombosis of hepatic/intraabdominal/cerebral veins, arterial thrombosis
  • Bone marrow failure leading to aplastic anemia
  • Myelodysplastic (MDS) or myeloproliferative disorders
  • Acute leukemia
  • Esophageal spasm
  • Crampy abdominal pain
  • Impotence/ED

Differential Diagnosis

Microangiopathic Hemolytic Anemia (MAHA)


  • Anemia
  • Negative Coombs test
  • Hemoglobinuria
  • Elevated LDH
  • Decreased haptoglobin
  • Positive sucrose lysis test or Ham test (both test sensitivity of RBCs to lysis by complement)
  • Other clues: granulocytopenia/thrombocytopenia, venous thrombosis, aplastic anemia, MDS, dysphagia or abdominal pain


  • Eculizumab (C5 antibody): stops hemolysis in PNH
  • Iron/folate supplements
  • RBC transfusion PRN
  • Prednisone may decrease RBC destruction
  • For severe hematopoietic dysfunction with marked cytopenias: hematopoietic cell transplant or immunosuppression (cyclosporine or antithymocyte globulin)
  • Anticoagulation for thrombosis


See Also