Aplastic Anemia Diagnosis

Doctors diagnose aplastic anemia through blood tests and a bone marrow biopsy.

Normally, red blood cell, white blood cell and platelet levels stay within a certain range. To confirm a diagnosis of aplastic anemia, a physician examines a blood sample and determines the number of each type of blood cell circulating in the blood. Aplastic anemia is strongly suspected when two or three of the cell counts are extremely low. A definitive diagnosis is made if a marrow sample (a biopsy) shows a great reduction in the number of cells in the marrow itself.

To confirm a diagnosis of aplastic anemia, you'll need a bone marrow biopsy. In this procedure, a doctor uses a needle to remove a small sample of bone marrow from a large bone in your body, such as your hipbone. The bone marrow sample is examined under a microscope to rule out other blood-related diseases. In aplastic anemia, bone marrow contains fewer blood cells than normal. The very few cells that are present, however, are normal. In diseases such as leukemia and myelodysplastic syndrome, the bone marrow is full of abnormal blood cells.

The initial diagnosis of aplastic anemia may be made by your doctor or at a local hospital. But for further evaluation and treatment, you'll likely be referred to a doctor who specializes in blood diseases (hematologist) or to a special treatment center for aplastic anemia.

Once you've received a diagnosis of aplastic anemia, you may need additional tests to determine an underlying cause.

Find out more about: Aplastic Anemia Treatment Options

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