Diagnosis

A blood test will show that there is a low blood count and then a bone marrow biopsy will be needed to confirm the diagnosis. More tests may be required to confirm the causes and type of aplastic anaemia.

Bone marrow biopsy

A doctor uses a needle to remove a small sample of bone marrow from a large bone in your body, for example, the hipbone. The bone marrow sample is examined to rule out other blood-related diseases. In aplastic anaemia, bone marrow contains fewer blood cells than normal.

Treatment

Treatment of aplastic anaemia can be split into two groups:

Supportive therapy

Supportive therapy manages symptoms caused by low blood cells with transfusions and the giving of drugs to stop and manage infections. Most people with bone marrow failure will need transfusions at some point during their treatment.

Definitive treatment 

Definitive treatment is about controlling or curing aplastic anaemia itself. This can be done by either immuno-suppressive treatment (IST) or a stem cell transplant (SCT). 

For information on the treatment of children with aplastic anaemia please click here.

Clinical treatment guidelines

The British Society of Haematology oversees the development and publication of guidance on the diagnosis and treatment of aplastic anaemia. The latest guidance note can be read here.

It will not be applicable to each patient, and doctors will always discuss and agree on the best option for each individual.

You can download more information on different methods of treatment here (GB - need to link to fact-sheets).