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Aplastic anemia: Pathogenesis, clinical manifestations, and diagnosis

Stanley L Schrier, MD
Section Editor
William C Mentzer, MD
Deputy Editor
Alan G Rosmarin, MD


Aplastic anemia (AA) is a life-threatening form of bone marrow failure which, if untreated, is associated with very high mortality. AA refers to pancytopenia in association with bone marrow hypoplasia/aplasia, most often due to immune injury to multipotent hematopoietic stem cells. The term "aplastic anemia" is a misnomer because the disorder is characterized by pancytopenia rather than anemia alone.

This topic will review the epidemiology, pathogenesis, clinical manifestations, evaluation, diagnosis, and differential diagnosis of AA. Our approach to the evaluation and diagnosis of AA is consistent with published guidelines [1,2].

The following topics are discussed separately:

(See "Approach to the adult with unexplained pancytopenia".)

(See "Treatment of aplastic anemia in adults".)

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Literature review current through: Nov 2017. | This topic last updated: Oct 03, 2017.
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