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Genetic and Rare Diseases Information Center (GARD)

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Aplastic anemia

Other Names for this Disease
  • Anemia aplastic
  • Aplastic anemia idiopathic
  • Idiopathic aplastic anemia
  • Secondary aplastic anemia
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Your Question

What are the signs, symptoms, treatment, and prognosis for hypoplastic anemia?

Our Answer

We have identified the following information that we hope you find helpful. If you still have questions, please contact us.

What is anemia?

Anemia is a condition in which your blood has a lower than normal number of red blood cells. This condition also can occur if your red blood cells don’t contain enough hemoglobin. Hemoglobin is an iron-rich protein that gives blood its red color. This protein helps red blood cells carry oxygen from the lungs to the rest of the body.[1]  There are many different types of anemia.
Last updated: 8/21/2009

What is aplastic anemia?

Aplastic anemia is failure of the bone marrow to make enough blood cells. All blood cell types are affected. 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 condition can be acute or chronic.[2]
Last updated: 8/21/2009

What are the signs and symptoms of acquired aplastic anemia?

Symptoms of acquired aplastic anemia may include bleeding of the gums, bleeding of internal organs, easy bruising, fatigue, frequent or severe infections, nosebleeds, rapid heart rate, rash, shortness of breath during physical activity, and weakness.[2]
Last updated: 8/21/2009

What is “hypoplastic anemia?”

“Hypoplastic anemia” describes mild to moderate red blood cell deficiency (cytopenia) not requiring red blood cell or platelet transfusions.[3]
Last updated: 8/21/2009

How might hypoplastic anemia be treated?

Hypoplastic anemia (mild to moderate aplastic anemia) may not require any treatment, or may require supportive care.

In general, supportive care of aplastic anemia depends on the severity of the condition and may include anabolic steroids, low-dose steroids, cyclosporine, antibiotics, antifungal agents, antiviral therapy, red blood cell transfusions, and/or platelet transfusions.[2][3]
Last updated: 8/21/2009

What is the prognosis (chance of recovery) for people with hypoplastic anemia?

Acquired aplastic anemia usually gets worse unless the cause is removed or the disease is treated. Mild and moderate forms of the disease often progress slower than the severe form. Bone marrow transplant has been successful in young patients with a long-term survival rate of approximately 80%. Older patients have a survival rate of 40 - 70% after a transplant.[2] If left untreated, severe aplastic anemia can become life threatening.
Last updated: 8/21/2009