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Aplastic Anaemia

Aplastic Anaemia - What it is

​Aplastic anaemia is a rare and potentially very serious condition that is the consequence of a reduction in the blood forming cells in the bone marrow. People with aplastic anaemia have low haemoglobin (anaemia), low white blood cells (immune system cells which fight infection) and low platelets (small cells which stop bruising & bleeding). 

Aplastic Anaemia - Symptoms

People with aplastic anaemia may look pale, feel more tired than usual and get breathless easily. As their white blood cells are low, they will be prone to severe infections and a low platelet count will increase the risk of bruising and bleeding.

Aplastic Anaemia - How to prevent?

​There’s no effective prevention for most cases of aplastic anaemia.

Some chemicals and toxins may predispose certain individuals to developing aplastic anaemia and reducing exposure to toxic chemicals such as herbicides, organic solvents. When exposure to such chemical cannot be avoided, safe handling practices should be employed. 

Aplastic Anaemia - Causes and Risk Factors

​Most aplastic anaemia cases are due to suppression of the bone marrow by the immune system. 

A small minority of cases may be due to genetic predisposition or medications and toxins.

Aplastic Anaemia - Diagnosis

​A diagnosis of aplastic anaemia may be suspected from the history, physical examination and routine blood tests. A bone marrow biopsy is required to confirm the diagnosis of aplastic anaemia and further investigations are usually carried out to try to determine a cause. 

Aplastic Anaemia - Treatments

​Patients with mild aplastic anaemia and have no symptoms will be managed with close observation.

A person with more severe aplastic anaemia may require regular transfusions of red blood cells and platelets, and may need to take medications to reduce the risk of infection. Some patients may receive treatment with drugs called androgens to try to stimulate their bone marrow, whilst others may require treatment with medications to suppress the immune system (e.g. ciclosporin, anti-thymocyte globulin) and specific drugs to stimulate blood cell production (e.g. eltrombopag).

In certain circumstances where the aplastic anaemia is severe and there is a full-matched donor, a haemopoietic stem cell transplant may be recommended. 

Regardless of the treatment, most patients with aplastic anaemia will be followed-up lifelong in our Specialist Clinic to monitor for relapses and treat long term complications of the condition.

Aplastic Anaemia - Preparing for surgery

Aplastic Anaemia - Post-surgery care

Aplastic Anaemia - Other Information

The information provided is not intended as medical advice. Terms of use. Information provided by SingHealth

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