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Cold agglutinin disease

Other Names for this Disease
  • Anemia, hemolytic, cold antibody
  • CAD
  • Cold antibody disease
  • Cold antibody hemolytic anemia
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Cold agglutinin disease (CAD) is a rare form of autoimmune hemolytic anemia. In this condition, the immune system makes antibodies that attack the body's own red blood cells. This causes the blood cells to die prematurely (hemolysis).[1][2] Symptoms may include pallor and fatigue; back and leg pain; headache; vomiting; diarrhea; and dark urine. CAD gets its name from the fact that the antibodies react at temperatures below 37ºC, so a cold environment may trigger the condition or make it worse. It can be primary (idiopathic) or secondary, due to an underlying condition such as an infection, another autoimmune disease, or certain cancers.[1][2] Treatment often involves avoidance of cold temperatures.[3]
Last updated: 3/11/2014


  1. Harper JL. Pediatric Cold agglutinin disease. eMedicine. August 2011; Accessed 1/20/2012.
  2. Georgy S. Cold agglutinin disease. eMedicine. November 2010; Accessed 1/20/2012.
  3. Marc Michel. Cold agglutinin disease. Orphanet. August, 2010; Accessed 3/11/2014.
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Basic Information

In Depth Information

  • Medscape Reference has two articles on this topic from the perspective of Pediatrics and Hematology. You may need to register to view the information online, but registration is free.
  • MeSH® (Medical Subject Headings) is a terminology tool used by the National Library of Medicine. Click on the link to view information on this topic.
  • Orphanet is a European reference portal for information on rare diseases and orphan drugs.  Access to this database is free of charge.
  • PubMed is a searchable database of medical literature and lists journal articles that discuss Cold agglutinin disease. Click on the link to view a sample search on this topic.