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Cold agglutinin disease.

Blood 2013 August 16
Cold agglutinin disease is a rare and poorly understood disorder affecting 15% of patients with autoimmune hemolytic anemia. We reviewed the clinical and pathologic features, prognosis, and management in the literature and describe our institutional experience to improve strategies for accurate diagnosis and treatment. Retrospective analysis identified 89 patients from our institution with cold agglutinin disease from 1970 through 2012. Median age at symptom onset was 65 years (range, 41 to 83 years), whereas the median age at diagnosis was 72 years (range, 43 to 91 years). Median survival of all patients was 10.6 years, and 68 patients (76%) were alive 5 years after the diagnosis. The most common symptom was acrocyanosis (n = 39 [44%]), and many had symptoms triggered by cold (n = 35 [39%]) or other factors (n = 20 [22%]). An underlying hematologic disorder was detected in 69 patients (78%). Thirty-six patients (40%) received transfusions during their disease course, and 82% received drug therapy. Rituximab was associated with the longest response duration (median, 24 months) and the lowest proportion of patients needing further treatment (55%). Our institution's experience and review of the literature confirms that early diagnostic evaluation and treatment improves outcomes in cold agglutinin disease.

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