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Agranulocytosis Definition, Symptoms And Treatments

Agranulocytosis is a blood abnormality characterized by the disappearance of a subclass of leucocytes: neutrophilic granulocytes. Given their importance in the immune system, their disappearance requires rapid medical management.

What is agranulocytosis?

Agranulocytosis is a medical term used to refer to a blood defect. It corresponds to the almost complete disappearance of blood neutrophil granulocytes, formerly called neutrophilic neutrophils.

What is the role of neutrophil granulocytes?

These blood elements are a subclass of leukocytes (white blood cells), blood cells involved in the immune system. This subclass represents the majority of leukocytes present in the blood. In the bloodstream, neutrophil granulocytes play a very important role because they are responsible for the defense against foreign bodies and infected cells. They are capable of phagocyting these particles, that is, absorbing them in order to destroy them.

How to detect agranulocytosis?

Agranulocytosis is a blood abnormality that can be identified during a blood count , also known as Blood Count and Formula (NFS). This review brings a lot of information about blood cells. The hemogram makes it possible in particular to quantify the different elements of the blood, of which the neutrophilic granulocytes are part.

In the analysis of neutrophils , an abnormality is observed when the concentration of these cells is less than 1700 / mm3, or 1.7 g / L in the blood. In case of neutrophil granulocyte levels that are too low, we talk about neutropenia .

Agranulocytosis is a serious form of neutropenia. It is characterized by a very low level of neutrophil granulocytes, less than 500 / mm3, or 0.5 g / L.

What are the causes of agranulocytosis?

In the majority of cases, agranulocytosis is a blood abnormality that follows the taking of certain drug treatments. Depending on the origin and characteristics of the anomaly, there are usually two types of agranulocytosis medications:

Acute agranulocytosis medications , the development of which is due to the selective toxicity of a drug, which affects only the granulocyte line;

medicinal agranulocytosis in the context of aplastic anemia , the development of which is due to a disorder in the bone marrow, which are characterized by a rarefaction of several blood cell lines.

In the context of aplastic anemia, it is also possible to distinguish several types of agranulocytosis. Indeed, this blood disease characterized by stopping the production of blood cells in the bone marrow can have several origins. Medullary aplasia can be considered as:

Post-chemotherapy medullary aplasia after chemotherapy;

Accidental medullary aplasia when caused by certain drugs.

If agranulocytosis medications represent between 64 and 83% of cases, these anomalies may have other causes. Bacterial, viral or parasitic, an advanced infection can in particular cause a rarefaction of neutrophil granulocytes.

What is the risk of complication?

Given the role of neutrophil granulocytes in the immune system, agranulocytosis exposes the body to significant infectious risk. There are not enough neutrophils to prevent the development of certain pathogens, which can lead to sepsis , sepsis, and infection or generalized inflammation of the body.

What are the symptoms of agranulocytosis?

The symptoms of agranulocytosis are those of an infection. It can be manifested by infectious signs in several parts of the body including the digestive system, the ENT sphere, the pulmonary system or the skin.

Acute agranulocytosis appears suddenly and is manifested by a high fever (greater than 38.5 ° C) with chills. In bone marrow aplasia, the development of agranulocytosis can be progressive.

How to treat Agranulocytosis?

Agranulocytosis is a blood abnormality that needs to be treated quickly to avoid the occurrence of complications. Although the treatment may vary depending on the origin of agranulocytosis, its management is generally based on:

Isolation in hospital to protect the patient;

The implementation of antibiotic therapy to treat infections;

The use of granulocyte growth factors to stimulate the production of neutrophil granulocytes.

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