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Acquired Aplastic Anemia

Abstract

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NORD is very grateful to Neal S Young, MD, NIH/Hemalotogy Branch of the Heart Lung and Blood Institute, for his assistance in updating this report.

Synonyms of Acquired Aplastic Anemia

  • idiopathic aplastic anemia

Disorder Subdivisions

  • No subdivisions found.

General Discussion

Summary
Acquired aplastic anemia is a rare disorder caused by profound, almost complete bone marrow failure. Bone marrow is the spongy substance found in the center of the bones of the body, in adults mainly the spine, pelvis, and large bones of the legs. The bone marrow produces specialized cells (hematopoietic stem cells) that grow and eventually develop into red blood cells (erythrocytes), white blood cells (leukocytes), and platelets. In acquired aplastic anemia, an almost complete absence of hematopoietic stem cells eventually results in low levels of red and white blood cells and platelets (pancytopenia). Specific symptoms associated with acquired aplastic anemia may vary, but include fatigue, chronic infections, dizziness, weakness, headaches, and episodes of bleeding, usually in the skin and mucous membranes. Although some cases of acquired aplastic anemia occurs secondary to other disorders, researchers now believe that most cases result from a disorder of the patient's immune system, which mistakenly targets the bone marrow (autoimmunity). This is based on the response of the majority of patients to immunotherapy, whether it is ATG and cyclosporine, high-dose corticosteroids or cyclophosphamide.

Introduction
Aplastic anemia is classified as severe according to blood counts. Most of the discussion that follows relates to severe aplastic anemia. Patients with more moderately decreased blood counts; may not require treatment. Furthermore, some aplastic anemia that is genetically inherited may, first manifest in adulthood, without a family history of blood disease.

Organizations related to Acquired Aplastic Anemia

Please note that some of these organizations may provide information concerning certain conditions potentially associated with this disorder.

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