Neutropenia is an abnormally low number of white blood cells called neutrophils. White blood cells protect the body from infection.
Children with neutropenia tend to get infections easily because their white blood cell count is too low to fight germs, such as bacteria. Without enough neutrophils, infections can quickly become life threatening.
Neutropenia may be caused by:
Neutropenia itself does not cause any symptoms. Your healthcare provider may find that your child has neutropenia from a routine blood test or from blood tests done to diagnose a fever or infection.
Your healthcare provider will ask about your child’s symptoms and medical history and examine your child. Your child will have blood tests.
If the child’s blood tests show neutropenia, your child may also have a bone marrow aspirate test. Bone marrow is spongy tissue in the center of bones that makes blood cells. For this test a local anesthetic is given to numb the skin and then your provider puts a needle through a small cut in the skin and into a bone, usually the hip bone. The needle is used to get a sample of bone marrow. This test can help your provider learn more about the white blood cell count.
The 2 main treatments for neutropenia are:
Some children may need a bone marrow transplant. This means that bone marrow donated by someone else is put into the bone to help your child’s body make healthy white blood cells.
Follow the treatment plan.
Ask your healthcare provider:
Make sure you know when you should bring your child back for a checkup.