Glossary of Medical Terms

Hemolytic anemia

The premature rupture of red blood cells (RBCs) sufficient to produce an anemia. This can occur acutely when large numbers of RBCs are destroyed rapidly, or chronically when RBCs are destroyed more slowly but at a rate slightly faster than the body is able to replace them. Hemolytic anemias can result from genetic diseases, autoimmune disease, drugs, chemicals, toxins, infectious agents, hypersplenism and other rarer causes.

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