Anemia - idiopathic aplastic
Mild cases of aplastic anemia may require no treatment. Symptoms will be treated as appropriate.
In moderate cases, blood transfusions and platelet transfusions will help correct the anemia and the risk of bleeding. However, over time, blood transfusions may stop working. Too much iron may build-up in the body tissues may occur because of the many transfusions. See Hemochromatosis
Severe aplastic anemia occurs when blood-cell counts are very low, and is a life-threatening condition. Bone marrow transplant or stem cell transplant is recommended for severe disease in patients under age 40. However, their donor must be a brother or sister who is a good match. This is called a matched sibling donor.
Older patients and those who do not have a matched sibling donor are given drugs that suppress the immune system, such as anti-thymocyte globulin. This medicine may allow the bone marrow to once again make blood cells. A bone marrow transplant with an unrelated donor may be tried if these medications do not help, or if the disease comes back after getting better.
Untreated, severe 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%.
Call your health care provider or go to the emergency room if bleeding occurs for no reason, or if bleeding is difficult to stop. Call if you notice frequent infections or unusual fatigue.
Castro-Malaspina H, O'Reilly R. Aplastic anemia and related disorders. In: Goldman L, Ausiello D, eds. Cecil Medicine. 23rd ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2007: chap 171.
Young NS, Maciejewski JP. Aplastic anemia. In: Hoffman R, Benz EJ Jr, Shattil SJ, et al, eds. Hoffman: Hematology, Basic Principles and Practice. 5th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Elsevier Churchill Livingstone; 2008:chap 29.
© 2011 University of Maryland Medical Center (UMMC). All rights reserved.
UMMC is a member of the University of Maryland Medical System,
22 S. Greene Street, Baltimore, MD 21201. TDD: 1-800-735-2258 or 1.866.408.6885