Donath-Landsteiner test

Donath-Landsteiner Test

The Donath-Landsteiner test is an antibody test used to differentiate a certain type of anemia - hemolytic anemia. The test is done when a physician suspects that a person is suffering from a particular type of anemia, and can be used to distinguish between different types of anemias.


Prior to performing the Donath-Landsteiner test, the physician must collect a sample of blood from the patient. The sample should be handled with great care, as it is an important component in the test.


Once the blood sample has been collected, the sample is allowed to clot prior to testing. The clot is then placed onto a slide and examined under a microscope. If the presence of RBC agglutination is indicated, the RBCs in the sample have been attacked by autoantibodies, and the patient is likely to be suffering from a hemolytic anemia.


The Donath-Landsteiner test can distinguish between two types of hemolytic anemia: Autoimmune Hemolytic Anemia (AIHA) and Paroxysmal Nocturnal Hemoglobinuria. AIHA occurs when the immune system destroys a person’s own red blood cells, while PNH occurs when a person’s own immune system destroys only certain types of red blood cells.


The risks associated with the Donath-Landsteiner test are minimal. There is a slight chance of irritating the patient’s skin or causing infection, but the infection risk is small and does not happen often.


The Donath-Landsteiner test is important for diagnosing and treating hemolytic anemia because it can differentiate between AIHA and PNH. It is also useful in determining the cause of anemia, as AIHA and PNH can have different causes.


The Donath-Landsteiner test is typically done when other tests are not able to differentiate between AIHA and PNH. It is often performed after a patient has had a peripheral blood smear and a direct antiglobulin test (DAT). It may also be done in combination with other tests, such as a Coombs’ test.