Delayed Development of Hemolytic Anemia with Fragmented Red Blood Cells and Cardiac and Renal Impairments after High-Dose Chemotherapy and Autologous Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplantation for Malignant Lymphoma

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Among 42 consecutive patients with malignant lymphoma who underwent high-dose chemotherapy (HDC) followed by autologous hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (AHSCT), 5 developed hemolytic anemia with fragmented red blood cells (HA-FrRBCs) on days 87-125 (median 107) of AHSCT. Nadir Hb levels ranged between 5.0 and 6.4 g/dL with 2.2-5.6% FrRBCs. All patients developed grade ≥3 hypoxia and heart failure, and 4 developed grade ≥3 hypertension. The ejection fraction of the left ventricle assessed by echocardiography was significantly reduced in 3 patients. Peak creatinine levels were >4 times above the baseline and estimated glomerular filtration rates were reduced to <30 mL/min/1.73 m2. One patient received plasma exchange, while the remaining 4 responded to treatment with diuretics and cardiovascular agents. Hematological parameters normalized within a median duration of 91 days after the development of HA-FrRBCs. Renal and cardiac functions gradually improved, even though renal function did not return to the baseline. HA-FrRBCs associated with cardiac and renal impairments may represent a thrombotic microangiopathy syndrome and are a delayed complication of HDC/AHSCT. The close monitoring of laboratory abnormalities and persistent treatment with cardiovascular agents and diuretics are the mainstay for the management of this condition.

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