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Agranulocytosis

Definition

Agranulocytosis means a failure of the bone marrow to make enough white blood cells (neutrophils). Bone marrow is the soft tissue inside bones that helps form blood cells.

Alternative Names

Granulocytopenia; Granulopenia

Causes, incidence, and risk factors

Agranulocytosis may be caused by:

  • Certain bone marrow diseases such as myelodysplasia
  • Chemotherapy and bone marrow transplantation

Agranulocytosis results in a person not having enough of a specific type of white blood cells, called neutrophils or granulocytes. A low neutrophil count (neutropenia) may also occur when white blood cells are destroyed faster than they can be produced.

Symptoms

Persons with this condition are more likely to develop infections.

Signs and tests

See: Blood differential test

References

Bagby GC. Leukopenia and leukocytosis. In Goldman L, Ausiello D, eds. Cecil Medicine. 23rd ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2007: chap 173.


Review Date: 9/6/2010
Reviewed By: David C. Dugdale, III, MD, Professor of Medicine, Division of General Medicine, Department of Medicine, University of Washington School of Medicine; James R. Mason, MD, Oncologist, Director, Blood and Marrow Transplantation Program and Stem Cell Processing Lab, Scripps Clinic, Torrey Pines, California. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.
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