The first deficiency to be demonstrated was a haemolytic Anemia described in premature infants. Infant formulations now contain vitamin E.
Haemolytic anaemia is a breakdown of red cells with haemolysis which results in anaemia. There is sequestration of the red cells in the spleen which may enlarge.
A haemolytic anaemia is where the red blood cells are being broken down resulting in the patient becoming anaemic. There are a number of things which can attack the red blood cells. In 'autoimmune' haemolytic anaemia it seems that the body is producing its own attack - that is, it is producing 'antibodies' which it would normally produce to fight infections to fight its own cells.
There are a lot of autoimmune diseases of different kinds and this haemolytic anaemia might be part of one of those diseases or it might be a problem in its own right - then it tends to get called 'idiopathic autoimmune haemolytic anaemia'.
Acquired haemolytic anaemia may also be caused by the presence of antibodies (proteins produced by the body to fight infection) in the blood. These antibodies bind to red cells and cause them to be destroyed prematurely in the spleen (where the destruction of most red cells normally occurs).
Taking a combination of many different drugs for various medical conditions can lead to the formation of these antibodies and subsequently to acquired haemolytic anaemia.