Agranulocytosis, also known as agranulosis or granulopenia, is a condition that occurs when the bone marrow (the soft tissue inside bones) fails to make enough white blood cells. This condition can cause a suppressed immune response to bacteria and other infections because white blood cells are a critical part of the human immune system. Angranulocytosis can turn minor infections into something more serious.
Agranulocytosis Causes and Types
Agranulocytosis can be acquired or congenital (a condition you are born with).
Acquired forms of agranulocytosis can be caused by:
- Autoimmune disorders
- Bone marrow diseases, such as spina bifida (myelodysplasia)
- Bone marrow transplantation
- Blood transfusions
- Nutritional deficiencies
- Medications such as rituximab, penicillin, captopril, and ranitidine
Common symptoms of agranulocytosis include sudden fever, chills, sore throat, and weakness.
Other signs of agranulocytosis may include:
- Rapid heart rate
- Rapid breathing
- Low blood pressure
- Mouth sores
Agranulocytosis is diagnosed through blood and urine tests. These tests are used to check for infection and measure white blood cell counts. If a problem with the bone marrow is suspected, a bone marrow sample may be taken for testing.
If agranulocytosis is caused by another condition, that condition will first be treated.
If agranulocytosis is caused by a medication, an alternative medication or treatment may be considered.
Antiviral, antifungal, and antibiotic medications may be administered to treat infections.
If agranulocytosis has been caused by chemotherapy, white blood cell-stimulating factors may be used to encourage the bone marrow to produce more white blood cells.