Traumatic hemolytic anemia is intravascular hemolysis caused by excessive shear or turbulence in the circulation.
Trauma may originate
The trauma causes odd-shaped RBC fragments (eg, triangles, helmet shapes) called schistocytes in the peripheral blood; their appearance on the peripheral smear is diagnostic. The small schistocytes cause low MCV and high RBC distribution width (the latter reflecting the anisocytosis).
Treatment addresses the underlying process. Iron deficiency anemia occasionally is superimposed on the hemolysis as a result of chronic hemosiderinuria and, when present, responds to iron-replacement therapy.
Last full review/revision October 2013 by Alan E. Lichtin, MD
Content last modified November 2013