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Genetic and Rare Diseases Information Center (GARD)

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Cold agglutinin disease


Other Names for this Disease
  • Anemia, hemolytic, cold antibody
  • CAD
  • CAS
  • Chronic cold agglutinin disease
  • Cold agglutinin syndrome
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Your Question

Are there any tests that can be done to identify the presence of a cold agglutinin disorder in a patient? It is helpful to know what populations of patients might have a predisposition for the disorder. However, should one identify a patient who might fall into that catagory, is there a way to identify the presence of the disorder?

Our Answer

We have identified the following information that we hope you find helpful. If you still have questions, please contact us.

How is cold agglutinin disease diagnosed?

A diagnosis of cold agglutinin disease may be made after several types of tests are performed by a health care provider. In some cases, the diagnosis is first suspected by chance if a routine complete blood count (CBC) detects abnormal clumping (agglutination) of the red blood cells. In most cases, the diagnosis is based on evidence of hemolytic anemia (from symptoms and/or blood tests). A person may also be physically examined for spleen or liver enlargement. An antiglobulin test (called the Coombs test) may be performed to determine the presence of a specific type of antibody. In people with cold agglutinin disease, the Coomb's test is almost always positive for immunoglobulin M (IgM).[1][2]

Detailed information about the various tests used to make a diagnosis of cold agglutinin disease is available on Medscape Reference's Web site. Please click on the link to access this resource.
Last updated: 5/6/2015

Is cold agglutinin disease more common in certain populations?

Cold agglutinin disease most commonly affects adults who are of middle age and older. Some studies also report a slight bias in favor of females in the incidence of cold agglutinin disease, particularly in older populations. People with infectious mononucleosis, lymphoproliferative diseases, or mycoplasma pneumonia are more susceptible to this condition.[1][2][3]
Last updated: 5/6/2015

References
Other Names for this Disease
  • Anemia, hemolytic, cold antibody
  • CAD
  • CAS
  • Chronic cold agglutinin disease
  • Cold agglutinin syndrome
See Disclaimer regarding information on this site. Some links on this page may take you to organizations outside of the National Institutes of Health.