Increasing incidence and prevalence of acquired hemolytic anemias in Denmark, 1980–2016

Dennis Lund Hansen*, Sören Möller, Kjeld Andersen, David Gaist, Henrik Frederiksen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

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Background: Acquired hemolytic disorders—autoimmune hemolytic anemia (AIHA), cold agglutinin disease (CAD), paroxysmal nocturnal hemoglobinuria (PNH), drug-induced hemolysis (DIHA), and acquired hemolysis not otherwise specified (AHNOS)—are consid-ered rare. Despite their potentially major health implications, data regarding their incidence and prevalence are scarce. Methods: To fill this gap we collected data regarding all patients with acquired hemolytic disorder diagnoses in 1977–2016 from the Danish National Patient Register. These data were linked with vital and migration status information from the Danish Civil Registration System. From these data combined with annual demographic data for the background population, we calculated age-and sex-specific incidence rates and prevalence proportions of acquired hemolytic disorders for specified time periods. Results: Our analysis included 5868 patients with acquired hemolytic disorders (2715 with AIHA, 112 CAD, 397 DIHA, 116 PNH, and 2154 AHNOS). The incidence rates per 100 000 person-years in 1980–1993 and 2008–2016 were 0.81 and 1.77 for AIHA, 0.31 and 0.12 for DIHA, and 0.04 and 0.08 for PNH, respectively. The 2008–2016 CAD incidence rate was 0.18/100 000 person-years, CAD diagnosis code was not defined before 1994. All incidence rates increased with age. The prevalence proportion per 100 000 persons in 1980 and 2015 was 2.52 and 17.01 for AIHA, 0.80 and 1.50 for DIHA, and 0.18 and 1.04 for PNH. CAD prevalence in 2015 was 1.04/100 000 persons. Conclusion: Acquired hemolytic anemia incidence rates and prevalence proportions with the exception of DIHA are markedly increasing.

Original languageEnglish
JournalClinical Epidemiology
Pages (from-to)497-508
Publication statusPublished - 22. May 2020


  • Autoimmune hemolytic anemia
  • Cold agglutinin disease
  • Drug-induced hemolytic anemia
  • Incidence
  • Paroxysmal nocturnal hemoglobinuria
  • Prevalence


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