Anemias Associated With Increased Erythropoiesis

General Principles


Anemias associated with increased erythropoiesis (i.e., an elevated reticulocyte count) are caused by bleeding or hemolysis and may exceed the capacity of normal BM to correct the Hgb. Bleeding is much more common than hemolysis.


  • Blood loss. If no obvious source, suspect occult loss into GI tract, retroperitoneum, thorax, or deep compartments of thigh depending on history (recent instrumentation, trauma, hip fracture, coagulopathy).
  • Hemolysis can be categorized into two broad groups based on the cause of destruction: intrinsic (caused by deficits inherit to the RBC) and extrinsic (caused by factors external to the RBC).
    • In general, intrinsic causes are inherited, whereas extrinsic causes tend to be acquired. Intrinsic disorders are a result of defects of the red cell membrane (i.e., hereditary spherocytosis), Hgb composition (i.e., sickle cell disease [SCD]), or enzyme deficiency (i.e., G6PD deficiency).
    • Extrinsic disorders can result from antibodies (i.e., cold or warm reactive immunoglobulin), infectious agents (i.e., malaria), trauma, chemical agents (i.e., venom), or liver disease.
    • Hemolytic disorders are also commonly categorized by the location of RBC destruction: intravascular (within the circulation) or extravascular (within the macrophage in the liver or spleen).

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