by Diana Kohnle
Agranulocytosis is a very low level of white blood cells. These blood cells are part of the immune system. They help fight infections.
Agranulocytosis may be:
Agranulocytosis is caused by destruction of white blood cells or by the failure of bone marrow to make enough white blood cells.
With congenital agranulocytosis, these problems are caused by a genetic defect.
With acquired agranulocytosis, these problems may be caused by:
Factors that increase your chance of developing agranulocytosis include:
If you have any of these symptoms do not assume it is due to agranulocytosis. These symptoms may be caused by other, less serious health conditions.
There are often no symptoms until you have an infection. Symptoms of agranulocytosis may include:
Symptoms of congenital agranulocytosis may include:
Your doctor will ask about your symptoms and medical history. You will be asked about recent infections, medical treatments, and medications. A physical exam will be done.
Blood tests may be done to diagnose agranulocytosis. The tests will include:
To help determine a cause your doctor may also order:
Treatment will be based on the type and cause of agranulocytosis that you have. Options include the following:
Leukocytes are a type of white blood cell. These cells are collected from a donor and carefully screened. They are then delivered through an IV. These white blood cells may make up for the deficit caused by agranulocytosis in some.
Anitviral, antibiotic, and antifungal medication may be needed to:
Granulocyte colony-stimulating factor (G-CSF) or granulocyte-macrophage colony-stimulating factor (GM-CSF) encourage the body to make more white blood cells. This may help with certain types of agranulocytosis.
When possible the toxin or drug that is causing the problems will be removed.
Your doctor will monitor you if you are taking medication or having medical treatment that could lead to agranulocytosis. You may be given a white blood cell stimulating medications before having these other treatments. This may prevent agranulocytosis for some.
American Dental Association
National Organization for Rare Disorders, Inc.
Canadian Family Physician
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Neutropenia. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed/what.php . Updated September 27, 2012. Accessed December 27, 2012.
Last reviewed November 2012 by Michael Woods, MD
Last Updated: 11/26/2012
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