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Aplastic Anemia


Aplastic anemia is when your body stops making new red blood cells (RBCs), white blood cells (WBCs), and platelets. RBCs, WBCs, and platelets are made in the bone marrow. Bone marrow is soft, spongy tissue inside the bone. RBCs carry oxygen to all the organs and tissues of your body. WBCs help your body fight infection by attacking and killing germs. Platelets stop the bleeding when you are cut or injured.


Informed consent

is a legal document that explains the tests, treatments, or procedures that you may need. Informed consent means you understand what will be done and can make decisions about what you want. You give your permission when you sign the consent form. You can have someone sign this form for you if you are not able to sign it. You have the right to understand your medical care in words you know. Before you sign the consent form, understand the risks and benefits of what will be done. Make sure all your questions are answered.


You may need to rest. Your healthcare provider will tell you when it is OK to increase your activities. Call your healthcare provider before getting up for the first time. If you ever feel weak or dizzy, sit or lie down right away. Then call your healthcare provider.

Heart monitor:

This is also called an ECG or EKG. Sticky pads placed on your skin record your heart's electrical activity.

Reverse isolation:

You may be put on reverse isolation safety measures if your body is having a hard time fighting infections. You are given a private room to protect you from other people's germs. Caregivers and visitors may wear gloves, a face mask, or a gown to keep their germs away from you. Everyone should wash their hands when entering and leaving your room.

You may need extra oxygen

if your blood oxygen level is lower than it should be. You may get oxygen through a mask placed over your nose and mouth or through small tubes placed in your nostrils. Ask your healthcare provider before you take off the mask or oxygen tubing.

A pulse oximeter

is a device that measures the amount of oxygen in your blood. A cord with a clip or sticky strip is placed on your finger, ear, or toe. The other end of the cord is hooked to a machine.


  • Bone marrow stimulants: These medicines are also called growth factor medicines. They help trigger your bone marrow to start making new RBCs, WBCs, and platelets.

  • Immunosuppressants: These medicines help prevent the body from attacking its own bone marrow. This may help the bone marrow make more blood cells.

  • Antibiotics: This medicine is given to help treat or prevent an infection caused by bacteria.

  • Antifungals help treat or prevent a fungal infection.

  • Antinausea medicine: This medicine may be given to calm your stomach and prevent vomiting.

  • Antivirals help treat or prevent a viral infection.

  • Antipyretics: This medicine is given to decrease a fever.

  • Pain medicine: Caregivers may give you medicine to take away or decrease your pain.

    • Do not wait until the pain is severe to ask for your medicine. Tell caregivers if your pain does not decrease. The medicine may not work as well at controlling your pain if you wait too long to take it.

    • Pain medicine can make you dizzy or sleepy. Prevent falls by calling a caregiver when you want to get out of bed or if you need help.

  • Stool softeners: This medicine makes it easier for you to have a bowel movement. You may need this medicine to treat or prevent constipation.


  • Blood tests: You may need blood taken to monitor the growth of your blood cells. This will help healthcare providers know what treatment is best for you. The blood may be taken from your hand, arm, or IV.

  • Bone marrow biopsy: A sample of bone marrow is removed and sent to a lab for tests. This will help healthcare providers know which types of blood cells are low. Healthcare providers put numbing medicine into your skin so you will have little pain. A bandage is put on the biopsy area after the tissue sample is taken.


  • Blood transfusion: You may need one or more blood transfusions to replace blood you have lost. This will also help decrease your signs and symptoms.

  • Bone marrow or stem cell transplant: Stem cells are the part of the bone marrow that make the RBCs, WBCs, and platelets. A stem cell transplant is when your stem cells are replaced with healthy stem cells. Stem cells usually come from a donor. The healthy stem cells are given to you through an IV. The stem cells return to the bone marrow, grow, and start producing WBCs, RBCs, and platelets. This transplant is usually done while you are in the hospital. You may be in the hospital for a month after your transplant.


You may need several blood transfusions. You could have a bad reaction to a blood transfusion, such as a seizure. You are at higher risk for infections. You may have sores, swelling, or redness in your mouth or on your skin. You may have pain or burning when you urinate, or your urine may smell bad. If you have a stem cell transplant, your body could reject the new stem cells. This can cause nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, or diarrhea. Treatments may be slow to work, or may not work at all. This can be life-threatening. Ask your healthcare provider for more information about the risks of aplastic anemia.


You have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your caregivers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment.

© 2015 Truven Health Analytics Inc. Information is for End User's use only and may not be sold, redistributed or otherwise used for commercial purposes. All illustrations and images included in CareNotes® are the copyrighted property of A.D.A.M., Inc. or Truven Health Analytics.

The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.