Aplastic Anemia - Causes / Risks

dr. simi paknikar
Medically Reviewed by dr. simi paknikar, MD
Last Updated on Feb 01, 2016
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Causes / Risks

Aplastic anemia causes include radiation, chemotherapy, certain medications or it may occur due to autoimmune diseases.

Aplastic anemia (AA) develops when damage occurs to the bone marrow thereby slowing or shutting down the production of new cells. The bone marrow produces stem cells which are transformed into red blood cells (RBCs), white blood cells (WBCs) and the platelets. All these cells have a definite life time- RBCs live for 120 days, WBCs for about a day and platelets about a week after which they have to be replenished by the body.

When the ability of the bone marrow to produce more cells severely weakens or dies, then enough bone marrow cells or blood cells are not produced leading to aplastic anemia.

Some factors that temporarily or permanently impair the bone marrow include:

  • High-dose radiation & chemotherapy used to treat cancer can also kill healthy cells besides killing cancer cells. This can temporarily cause AA.
  • Exposure to toxic chemicals. Exposure to toxic chemicals, such as those used in pesticides and insecticides, may result in the occurrence of aplastic anemia. Benzene is a toxic chemical implicated in AA formation.
  • Use of certain drugs/medications such as chloramphenicol, phenylbutazone or medications containing gold, used in the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis, can cause AA.
  • Autoimmune disorders, such as lupus, can compromise the BM greatly causing AA.
  • Viral infection affecting the bone marrow especially those caused by the HBV, Epstein-Barr, cytomegalovirus, parvovirus B-19 or HIV, can cause AA.
  • Pregnancy can cause an auto immune type of AA.
  • Unknown factors. In about 50% of cases AA is idiopathic.

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my brother has got aplastic anemia with mild bone marrow hypoplasty...which is the best hospital in india/delhi for this

Is there any sure treatment? My brother suffering with AA from 5 month. Not any treatment work. Even blood transfusion not effective.... Plzzzzzzzzzzz help!!!!!!!!!


hi,,,aap pune k rubi hospital me jaao,, mere dad ka ilaj wahi chal raha hai,,,, mere dad ab thik hai,,,

How is the severity of AA classified: ie. the difference between mild and severe forms? Can a mild form evolve into a severe one? Should women[20s] consider treatments which inhibit their menstrual cycles, in order to reduce blood loss? Are there any "alternative" therapies which are effective; short of BMT or an immunosuppressive regimen?

The difference between mild and sever are the levels at which the blood counts stand. These are the level boundaries to be diagnosed with AA; Haemoglobin <10 g/dL Platelet count < 50 x 109/L Neutrophil count <1.5 x 109/L These are those for severe; Neutrophils <0.5 x 109/L Platelets <20 x 109/L Reticulocytes <20 x 109/L And Very Severe; neutrophils <0.2 x 109/L Women of menstruating age are advised to use drug treatment to either stop of reduce bleeding when platelets stand at less than around 30 but of course every case is individual. There are some cases that have been treated with an immunosupresive drug instead of the chemotherapy option of ALG/ATG along with transfusions but this is generally a treatment for the effects of the illness compared to trying to "cure" it which is the aim of a BMT and ATg/ALG. Hope this helps x


its very help full but i need full text

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