A reduced red cell life may be caused by a group of hereditary or acquired disorders, with intracorpuscular or extracorpuscular abnormalities leading to hemolysis (Table I).
Table 1 Classification of anemias and additional laboratory tests
The hallmark of all hemolytic anemias is a significant increase in reticulocyte count. However, there is a 48-h gap between the fall in hematocrit and a noticeable rise in newly formed red blood cells. In addition, the appearance of the blood smear and the findings of elevated serum levels of lactate dehydrogenase and bilirubin, and a decrease in haptoglobin, may help to confirm the diagnosis of hemolytic anemia.
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