This information is provided by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Genetic and Rare Diseases Information Center (GARD).
Aplastic anemia is a blood disorder caused by failure of the bone marrow to make enough new blood cells. Bone marrow is a sponge-like tissue inside the bones that makes stem cells that develop into red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelets. Symptoms may include fatigue, weakness, dizziness, shortness of breath, frequent infections, and bleeding. Aplastic anemia can lead to other health concerns such as an irregular heartbeat, an enlarged heart, and heart failure. It can be caused by injury to blood stem cells due to exposure to certain drugs, chemotherapy, congenital disorders, drug therapy to suppress the immune system, pregnancy, radiation therapy, or toxins such as benzene or arsenic. When the cause is unknown, it is referred to as idiopathic aplastic anemia. In about half of all cases, no cause can be found. The blood disorder can be acute or chronic. Treatment may consist of supportive care only, blood transfusions, medicines to suppress the immune system, or hematopoietic cell transplantation.
For more information, visit GARD.