A Case of Evans Syndrome and Unstable Angina

Saad Bin Jamil, Iqra Patoli, Mehrunissa Kazim, Syed Hassan Abbas, Zain Ali


Evans syndrome (ES) is characterized by autoimmune hemolytic anemia (AIHA) and immune-mediated thrombocytopenia. It is more common in the pediatric population than in adults. ES has been reported to be associated with thrombotic events and rarely can lead to acute coronary syndrome (ACS). There have been only a few reported cases of ACS secondary to ES. We present an interesting case of ES with unstable angina (UA) which had a limited response to oral and intravenous (IV) steroids requiring rituximab. A 64-year-old male with past medical history significant for hypertension, hyperlipidemia, diabetes mellitus and coronary artery disease, presented to the emergency room complaining of a 2-week history of chest pain, shortness of breath and hematuria. Physical examination indicated splenomegaly but was otherwise unremarkable with no petechiae or rash. Labs showed hemoglobin of 9.6 g/dL, platelet count 58 103/L, troponin < 0.03 ng/mL, lactic acid 2.5 mmol/L and with parameters indicative of hemolysis, evidenced by elevated lactate dehydrogenase, low haptoglobin and elevated bilirubin levels. Electrocardiography (EKG) demonstrated ST depression in leads I, aVL, V5 - V6 and T wave inversions in lead III and aVL, which were new compared to previous EKG. Peripheral blood smear indicated spherocytes. Direct antiglobulin test was positive for immunoglobulin G (IgG). Patient was admitted for ES and initially treated with oral prednisone 80 mg daily. He was also diagnosed with UA thought to be possibly secondary to ES. He then underwent cardiac stress test which showed mild reversible inferior apical ischemia. Cardiac catheterization revealed 95% stenosis of proximal left circumflex artery requiring single drug eluding stent placement and dual antiplatelet therapy. Patient continued to have anemia despite blood transfusions, although platelet count improved. Prednisone was transitioned to high-dose IV dexamethasone, and patient was also started on rituximab which resulted in stabilization of anemia. The presentation of ES with ACS is a rare occurrence. ACS can be challenging to manage as stent placement may be required followed by dual antiplatelet therapy. Treatment of ES involves steroids followed by rituximab, IV immunoglobulin (IVIG) or splenectomy for non-responsive cases. Early intervention and management can prevent mortality and morbidity.

J Med Cases. 2021;12(10):415-418
doi: https://doi.org/10.14740/jmc3777


Evans syndrome; Unstable angina; Autoimmune hemolysis; Thrombosis; Thrombocytopenia; Intravenous immunoglobulin; Rituximab

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