How is cold agglutinin disease prevented?

Updated: Aug 28, 2018
  • Author: Salman Abdullah Aljubran, MD; Chief Editor: Michael A Kaliner, MD  more...
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Idiopathic cold agglutinin disease itself cannot be prevented. Protective measures for patients with cold agglutinin disease include avoidance of cold by covering the hands; feet; and, if possible, face in cold weather or low wind-chill temperatures.

An exact temperature cannot be defined, because symptoms are due to the thermal amplitude and other characteristics of the antibody. In some individuals, a wind-chill temperature of 15°C, if sustained, precipitates symptoms; more commonly, a temperature of 10°C would precipitate symptoms. Sleeping uncovered may result in symptoms when the room temperature is 21°C.

Recommendations to move to a warm climate have merit in severe cases in which symptoms and hemolysis are less likely to develop at higher ambient temperatures.

For patients with cold agglutinin disease, avoid cooling blankets for any reason; in rare cases, these may precipitate gangrene.

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