What is the prognosis of cold agglutinin disease?

Updated: Aug 28, 2018
  • Author: Salman Abdullah Aljubran, MD; Chief Editor: Michael A Kaliner, MD  more...
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Answer

Cold agglutinin disease may be associated with an excellent long-term prognosis if it is secondary to M pneumonia or viral infections that are, in themselves, self-limited. In children and young adults, acute hemolysis lasts 1-3 weeks; evidence of cold agglutinins disappears within 6 months.

Patients with the mildly to moderately severe primary (idiopathic) variety of cold agglutinin disease are expected to have a good long-term prognosis if excessive exposure to cold is avoided and with close medical surveillance for complications or progression to lymphoma.

The nature of the antigenic specificity of the cold agglutinin, as when it is directed against the Pr antigen system, may be associated with greater severity of disease.

Cold agglutinin disease associated with HIV infection may have a relatively poor prognosis due to the nature of the underlying disease. The same applies to cases associated with lymphoma, with the prognosis dependent on remission of the underlying malignancy.


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