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Neutropenia

(Agranulocytosis; Granulocytopenia; Granulopenia)

Definition

Neutropenia is the bone marrow’s inability to produce enough neutrophils, a type of white blood cell that helps to fight infections.
Neutropenia may be:
White Blood Cells
White Blood Cells
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Causes

Neutropenia can be caused by destruction or using up white blood cells and/or by the failure of bone marrow to make enough white blood cells.
With congenital neutropenia, these problems are caused by a genetic defect.
With acquired neutropenia, these problems may be caused by:

Risk Factors

Factors that increase your chance of developing neutropenia include:

Symptoms

Neutropenia does not result in symptoms. However, it can result in infection, which may have the following symptoms:

Diagnosis

You will be asked about your symptoms and medical history. You will be asked about recent infections, medical treatments, and medications. A physical exam will be done.
Your bodily fluids and tissues may be tested. This can be done with:

Treatment

Treatment will be based on the cause and severity of your neutropenia. Options include the following:

Medication for Infections Treatment

Antiviral, antibiotic, and antifungal medication may be needed to:
  • Treat an infection that could be causing neutropenia
  • Treat an infection that resulted from neutropenia
  • Prevent an infection in people at high risk—this may include people with cancer or immune disorders

White Blood Cell-stimulating Factors

Granulocyte colony-stimulating factor (G-CSF) or granulocyte-macrophage colony-stimulating factor (GM-CSF) encourages the body to make more white blood cells.

Removal of Causative Agent

When possible, the toxin or drug that is causing the problems will be removed.

Prevention

You will be monitored if you are taking medication or having medical treatment that could lead to neutropenia. You may be given white blood cell stimulating medications before having treatments. This may prevent neutropenia.

RESOURCES

American Dental Association http://www.mouthhealthy.org

National Organization for Rare Disorders, Inc. http://www.rarediseases.org

CANADIAN RESOURCES

The College of Family Physicians of Canada http://www.cfpc.ca

Health Canada http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca

References

Boulton F, Cooper C, et al. Neutropenia and agranulocytosis in England and Wales: incidence and risk factors. American Journal of Hepatology. 2003 Apr;72(4):248-54.

Neutropenia. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed. Updated March 19, 2015. Accessed June 30, 2015.

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