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Waiting for Neutrophils - what A next ?

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Hello Caroline 

My husband (69) has AML and has just received his first round of treatment - DA 3+10 Daunorubicin and Cytarabine as an inpatient.  His last chemo day was 3 May and he is currently in isolation waiting for his neutrophils to return.  They have been at 0.12 ish for about 10 days. 

Can you advise what happens if they don't get back up to +1?  Does he just stay in hospital until they do?  

Also consultants are now suggesting that they do a bone marrow aspiration to see what is going on (he hasn't had one since January).  What does the aspiration show that the blood samples cant?

Many thanks 

Caroline- Macmillan

Hi BessieJ,

It is quite common for blood counts to 'stick' for a few days. They may well just take a 'leap' at some point!

By doing the bone marrow, the team can find out whether the marrow is making cells or not. As blood cells grow and mature in the marrow, this is the most accurate way of finding out what is going on. Think of a blood sample as the finished product rather than the manufacturing process!

If the cells need a little help, they may prescribe some growth factors to stimulate the bone marrow. This can be done as an out patient , but you would need to be very careful of infection.

Sometimes patients have a protracted recovery after treatment before their counts recover but in this case, its still early days.

I hope this helps

Caroline - Macmillan  Information Nurse Specialist

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