Neutropenia is the bone marrow’s inability to produce enough neutrophils, a type of white blood cell that helps to fight infections.
Neutropenia may be:
Neutropenia can be caused by destruction or using up white blood cells and/or by the failure of bone marrow to make enough white blood cells.
With congenital neutropenia, these problems are caused by a genetic defect.
With acquired neutropenia, these problems may be caused by:
Factors that increase your chance of developing neutropenia include:
Neutropenia does not result in symptoms. However, it can result in infection, which may have the following symptoms:
You will be asked about your symptoms and medical history. You will be asked about recent infections, medical treatments, and medications. A physical exam will be done.
Your bodily fluids and tissues may be tested. This can be done with:
Treatment will be based on the cause and severity of your neutropenia. Options include the following:
Antiviral, antibiotic, and antifungal medication may be needed to:
Granulocyte colony-stimulating factor (G-CSF) or granulocyte-macrophage colony-stimulating factor (GM-CSF) encourages the body to make more white blood cells.
When possible, the toxin or drug that is causing the problems will be removed.
You will be monitored if you are taking medication or having medical treatment that could lead to neutropenia. You may be given white blood cell stimulating medications before having treatments. This may prevent neutropenia.
American Dental Association
National Organization for Rare Disorders, Inc.
The College of Family Physicians of Canada
Boulton F, Cooper C, et al. Neutropenia and agranulocytosis in England and Wales: incidence and risk factors.
American Journal of Hepatology. 2003 Apr;72(4):248-54.
Neutropenia. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at:
http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed. Updated March 19, 2015. Accessed June 30, 2015.
Last reviewed June 2015 by Michael Woods, MD
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
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