Diseases & Conditions


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Anemia, Hereditary Nonspherocytic Hemolytic


Synonyms of Anemia, Hereditary Nonspherocytic Hemolytic
  • Congenital Nonspherocytic Hemolytic Anemia
  • HNHA
  • NSA
  • NSHA

Disorder Subdivisions



    General Discussion
    Hereditary nonspherocytic hemolytic anemia is a term used to describe a group of rare, genetically transmitted blood disorders characterized by the premature destruction of red blood cells (erythrocytes or RBCs). If the red blood cells cannot be replaced faster than they destroy themselves, anemia is the result.

    In these disorders, the outside membrane of the cell is weakened, causing it to have an irregular, non-spherical shape and to burst (hemolyze) easily. These disorders are caused by, among other things, defects in the chemical processes involved in the breakdown of sugar molecules (glycolysis). Red blood cells depend on this process for energy and if an enzyme is defective in any one of the stages, the red blood cell cannot function properly and hemolysis, or the breakdown of the membrane that holds the cell together, takes place. The more common of the enzyme deficiencies that lead to HNSHA involve glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase (G6PD) deficiency, pyruvate kinase deficiency and hexokinase deficiency. There may be as many as 16 red blood cell enzyme abnormalities that may cause hereditary nonspherocytic hemolytic anemia. In addition, HNSHA may arise as the result of immune disorders, toxic chemicals and drugs, antiviral agents (eg, ribavirin), physical damage, and infections.

    Organizations related to Anemia, Hereditary Nonspherocytic Hemolytic
    • March of Dimes Birth Defects Foundation
      1275 Mamaroneck Avenue
      White Plains NY 10605
      Phone #: 914-428-7100
      800 #: 888-663-4637
      e-mail: Askus@marchofdimes.com
      Home page: http://www.marchofdimes.com
    • NIH/National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute
      31 Center Drive MSC 2480
      Bethesda MD 20892-2480
      Phone #: 301-592-8573
      800 #: --
      e-mail: nhlbiinfo@rover.nhlbi.nih.gov
      Home page: http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/



    For a Complete Report

    This is an abstract of a report from the National Organization for Rare Disorders, Inc. ? (NORD). A copy of the complete report can be obtained for a small fee by visiting the NORD website. The complete report contains additional information including symptoms, causes, affected population, related disorders, standard and investigational treatments (if available), and references from medical literature. For a full-text version of this topic, see http://www.rarediseases.org/search/rdblist.html

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