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Aplastic anaemia

Aplastic anaemia is a rare disorder in which the bone marrow fails to make enough blood cells.

Aplastic anaemia is a rare disorder in which the bone marrow fails to make enough blood cells.

The condition can be acquired, meaning that the condition has developed during the patient’s life, or inherited.

Aplastic anaemia is not a form of cancer but may be associated with certain cancers (especially those affecting the bone marrow, such as leukaemia) or cancer treatments. A small number of patients with aplastic anaemia may develop leukaemia. Because of the lack of cells within the blood, these are replaced by fat cells. Any remaining cells look more or less normal in contrast to other blood cancers

There are approximately 125 cases diagnosed every year and, of this number, 30 cases are children.

Patients may have symptoms of anaemia such as:

Aplastic anaemia can be divided into three groups – non-severe aplastic anaemia (NSAA), severe aplastic anaemia (SAA) and very severe aplastic anaemia (VSAA).

Last reviewed: July 2014

Next review: July 2016