A rare condition known as hemolytic uremic syndrome has left a woman in a coma after suffering a fatal stroke.
A neurologist in Colorado said on Monday that she believed the patient, who was in her 40s, had an autoimmune disease that caused her to develop an autoimmune reaction that left her with brain swelling, coma and a heart attack.
“The patient was not in any way suffering from anything unusual,” Dr. Amy Pfeifer, a neurosurgeon at Colorado Health Sciences University, told Reuters Health.
The woman had a stroke on June 28, 2016, and died three weeks later.
Her condition was described as rare and the exact cause was not known.
A neurologist at the hospital told the Colorado Springs Gazette on Monday the patient was hospitalized because she had an “unknown condition” but said that she had not been diagnosed with the condition.
“We don’t have any clues as to the specific cause,” Dr Michael O’Donnell told the newspaper.
A spokesman for the hospital did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
A rare autoimmune disease known as haemolytic urmosectomy is caused by a genetic mutation in the HLA gene that causes an abnormally high production of the immune-fighting protein T cells, the Journal of the American Medical Association reported.
It can cause a person to produce too many T cells and cause the body to attack its own cells.
“This disease is very rare,” Dr PfeIFer told the Gazette.
“The incidence is very small and the incidence has never been shown to be associated with other types of autoimmune diseases.”
But doctors have known for decades that this condition can be caused by HLA mutations, or inherited genetic diseases.
“A person with HLA-B27 can have severe hemolysis, which is the abnormal production of antibodies to proteins and molecules found in blood,” Dr O’Neill said.
“It can be very serious.
The patient may have irreversible brain damage.
It is rare, but the risk is high.”
Hemolysis is a serious complication of hemolytics, which are also known as blood transfusions, but doctors do not often diagnose it.
“There’s been a lot of discussion about this in the literature, but there’s been very little data,” Dr Aneesh Chopra, director of the Hemolytic Disorders Program at the Cleveland Clinic, told ABC News.
“Most of the literature has not identified it as a significant complication of blood transfusion.”
Dr Chopra added that a lot more work is needed to determine what causes the condition, but said he was “very optimistic” the condition would be isolated.
The condition is rare in people who have had a blood transfused.
It can occur when a patient has been infected with the H1N1 coronavirus, which can lead to severe and fatal illness, or when a person’s immune system has been weakened by infection or surgery.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.