Congenital dyserythropoietic anemia (CDA) is a group of rare inherited disorders characterized by ineffective erythropoiesis, the process by which red blood cells (RBC) are produced. They result in a decrease in the number of red blood cells in the body and a less than normal quantity of hemoglobin, which carries oxygen in the body.
There are three major types of CDA (types 1, 2 and 3). Type 2 is the most frequent, while type 3 is the most rare. Signs and symptoms of CDA can be highly variable, and usually patients display signs of anemia (see below). CDAs can be diagnosed at any age (infancy, childhood, adolescence, adulthood), depending on the severity of the anemia. Sometimes patients may show no symptoms and be diagnosed at a routine medical or through tests done for other conditions. Often, patients with CDA may absorb too much iron into their body. Iron is required by the body to produce RBC with hemoglobin. This excess iron can be harmful and constitute an important medical issue for patients with CDA and sometimes requires lifelong treatment.
Children and adolescents and with congenital dyserythropoietic anemia (CDA) are treated at Dana-Farber/Boston Children’s Cancer and Blood Disorders Center through our Rare Anemias and Iron Disorders Program. Continue reading to learn more about congenital dyserythropoietic anemia or visit the Rare Anemias and Iron Disorders Program page to learn about our expertise and treatment options.
The most common symptoms of CDA include:
CDA is diagnosed with:
After all tests are completed, doctors will be able to outline the best treatment options.
Depending on the severity of the disease and the symptoms experienced by the patients, doctors treat CDA with:
Because there is no definitive cure other than a hematopoietic stem cell transplant, children and adolescents with CDA require long-term follow-up to monitor for complications. Liver, hormonal (endocrine) and heart problems become increasingly important as patients grow older, due to the stress of low hemoglobin counts and high iron content.