by Diana Kohnle
Neutropenia is a low level of neutrophils in the blood. Neutrophils are a type of white blood cell. They help to fight infection.
There are 2 types of neutropenia:
White Blood Cells
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The body is always making new neutrophils. They replace old or damaged cells. Neutropenia happens when this system is not balanced. One or more of the following may be present:
Acquired neutropenia may be caused by:
Congenital neutropenia is caused by a problem in the genes.
Risk of neutropenia is higher with:
Most people won’t have symptoms. Neutropenia can lead to an infection. This may cause:
The doctor will ask about symptoms and past health. A physical exam will be done. Blood tests will show levels of blood cells and possible causes. Other tests may be needed to look for other causes.
Care is based on the cause and how serious the condition is. It may involve:
Medicine may need to be changed or avoided. Toxins may also need to be identified and removed.
Most cannot be prevented. Some may have a high risk neutropenia. Regular testing to look for changes in neutrophil counts may help. Medicines can be given early to boost white blood cells.
Mouth Healthy—American Dental Association
NORD———National Organization for Rare Disorders
The College of Family Physicians of Canada
Boulton F, Cooper C, Hagenbeek A, Inskip H, Leufkens HG. Neutropenia and agranulocytosis in England and Wales: incidence and risk factors. Am J Hematol. 2003;72(4):248-254.
Gibson C, Berliner N. How we evaluate and treat neutropenia in adults. Blood. 2014 Aug 21;124(8):1251.
Neutropenia—approach to the patient. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://www.dynamed.com/approach-to/neutropenia-approach-to-the-patient-24 . Updated November 25, 2019. Accessed March 18, 2020.
Neutropenia and risk of infections. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) website. Available at: https://www.cdc.gov/cancer/preventinfections/neutropenia.htm. Updated Novemeber 20, 2019. Accessed March 18, 2020.
Last reviewed March 2020 by
EBSCO Medical Review Board
Michael J. Fucci, DO, FACC
Last Updated: 3/18/2020