Anemia – idiopathic aplastic
Definition of Idiopathic aplastic anemia
Idiopathic aplastic anemia is a condition in which the bone marrow fails to properly make blood cells. Bone marrow is the soft, fatty tissue in the center of bones.
Causes, incidence, and risk factors
Aplastic anemia results from injury to the blood stem cells, immature cells in the bone marrow that give rise to all of other blood cells types. The injury causes a decrease in the number of every type of blood cell in the body — red cells, white cells, and platelets. Low numbers of red cells, white cells, and platelets is a condition called pancytopenia.
Symptoms are the result of bone marrow failure and the loss of blood cell production.
Mild cases of aplastic anemia may be treated with supportive care or may require no treatment.
Untreated aplastic anemia leads to rapid death. Bone marrow transplant has been successful in young people, with long term survival rates of about 80%. Older people have a survival rate of 40 – 70%.
David C. Dugdale, III, MD, Professor of Medicine, Division of General Medicine, Department of Medicine, University of Washington School of Medicine; Yi-Bin Chen, MD, Leukemia/Bone Marrow Transplant Program, Massachusetts General Hospital. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc. – 3/2/2010