Neutropenia

  • Medical Author:
    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD

    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Anatomic Pathologist with subspecialty training in the fields of Experimental and Molecular Pathology. Dr. Stöppler's educational background includes a BA with Highest Distinction from the University of Virginia and an MD from the University of North Carolina. She completed residency training in Anatomic Pathology at Georgetown University followed by subspecialty fellowship training in molecular diagnostics and experimental pathology.

  • Medical Editor: Mary D. Nettleman, MD, MS, MACP
    Mary D. Nettleman, MD, MS, MACP

    Mary D. Nettleman, MD, MS, MACP

    Mary D. Nettleman, MD, MS, MACP is the Chair of the Department of Medicine at Michigan State University. She is a graduate of Vanderbilt Medical School, and completed her residency in Internal Medicine and a fellowship in Infectious Diseases at Indiana University.

How is neutropenia diagnosed?

Neutropenia is diagnosed by a blood cell count performed on a sample of blood removed from a vein. To determine the specific cause of neutropenia in a given situation, other tests may be required. Sometimes a bone marrow biopsy may be required to diagnose the specific cause of neutropenia.

How is neutropenia treated?

Treatment of neutropenia is based upon the underlying cause, severity, and the presence of associated infections or symptoms as well as the overall health status of the patient. Obviously, treatment must also be directed toward any underlying disease process. Treatments that directly address neutropenia may include (note that all of these treatments may not be appropriate in a given setting):

  • antibiotic and/or antifungal medications to help fight infections;
  • administration of white blood cells growth factors (such as recombinant granulocyte colony-stimulating factor (G-CSF, filgrastim) in some cases of severe neutropenia;
  • granulocyte transfusions; or
  • corticosteroid therapy or intravenous immune globulin for some cases of immune-mediated neutropenia.

Preventive measures may also be implemented in neutropenic patients to limit risk of infections. These measures might include strict attention to hand washing, use of private rooms, or in some cases, use of gloves, gowns, and/or face masks by caregivers.

Medically reviewed by Martin E Zipser, MD; American Board of Surgery

REFERENCE:

"Approach to the adult with unexplained neutropenia"
UptoDate.com

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 2/4/2015
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