What Does a Complete Blood Count (CBC) Measure for Aplastic Anemia?

what does a complete blood count (cbc) measure for aplastic anemia

When your bone marrow is unable to produce enough red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelets, it results in aplastic anaemia. A CBC is used to diagnose aplastic anaemia and measures blood cell counts.

Your bone marrow is unable to produce enough healthy red blood cells for your body to operate normally if you have aplastic anaemia (AA). If untreated, it may result in potentially dangerous complications.

The many blood cell types that are present in your body are measured by a complete blood count (CBC). If a physician or other healthcare provider believes you may have AA, this is one of the tests they will run on you. To learn more about CBC testing for AA, keep reading.

What CBC findings indicate aplastic anemia?

A typical blood test is a CBC. This test was probably performed on you as a part of a regular physical. A complete blood count (CBC) enables a physician to evaluate the many blood cell types present in your body. Among them are:
  • Red blood cells (RBCs): Red blood cells (RBCs) transport carbon dioxide out of your body and oxygen into your tissues.
  • White blood cells (WBCs): WBCs are immune cells that aid in defending your body against pathogens.
  • Platelets: These little blood cells aid in the clotting of your blood.
Other blood factors such as haemoglobin, hematocrit, and mean corpuscular volume (MCV) are also measured by a CBC.

Pancytopenia, a condition in which all three types of blood cells are present at reduced than normal levels, is seen in individuals with AA. Their bone marrow isn't producing enough healthy blood cells, which is the cause of this. Pancytopenia may result in:

Reduced red blood cell count anaemia, resulting in symptoms such as:
  • weakness
  • pale skin
  • dizziness
  • fatigue
  • shortness of breath
  • headache
  1. decreased WBCs increase the risk of infections
  2. Easily bruised or bleeding due to insufficient platelets

When are your blood counts too low?

The typical ranges for blood cell counts, expressed in cells per microliter (μL) of blood, are displayed in the table below. Low values are those that fall outside of the typical ranges.

Men (μL)Women (μL)
RBC count4.7–6.1 million4.2–5.4 million
WBC count5,000–10,0004,500–11,000
Platelet count150,000–400,000150,000–400,000

Additionally, the laboratory performing the analysis may slightly alter normal ranges. Because of this, whenever you review your test findings, make sure to refer to your particular lab report.

Blood counts are part of AA's diagnostic requirements. A person diagnosed with AA needs to possess two or more of the following:

  • Less than 40,000 cells/μL for RBC count
  • WBC density < 500 cells/μL
  • less than 20,000 cells/μL for platelets

Language Matters

As you can see, this article uses the binary terms "women" and "men." These are the phrases used by the researchers whose data was quoted, even though we recognise they might not correspond with your gender experience. We make every effort to provide as much detail as we can when discussing clinical outcomes and study subjects.

Regretfully, data regarding transgender, nonbinary, gender nonconforming, genderqueer, agender, or genderless individuals may not have been collected for the studies and surveys cited in this article.

What other tests can confirm aplastic anemia?

To diagnose AA, other tests are also performed. For instance, a doctor might additionally prescribe a blood smear in addition to a CBC. This enables them to examine under a microscope the quantity, dimensions, and form of your various blood cells.

Your bone marrow must also meet the other diagnostic requirements for AA, which include having hypocellular bone marrow, or fewer cells than usual. A bone marrow aspiration and biopsy will be performed by a physician to look for this.

To rule out other possible reasons for low blood counts, a doctor could also prescribe additional testing.

Nutritional deficienciesfolate, B12, iron
  • viral hepatitis
  • HIV
  • Epstein-Barr virus
  • cytomegalovirus (CMV)
Autoimmune conditions
  • C-reactive protein
  • erythrocyte sedimentation rate
  • antinuclear antibody
  • rheumatoid factor
  • flow cytometry or cytogenetics
Medication or toxin exposure
  • careful review of medical history and any medications

What can I expect after a diagnosis of aplastic anemia?

Your course of treatment after receiving an AA diagnosis will be determined by your age, general health, and the severity of your AA.

A doctor will try to address any identifiable causes of your symptoms, such as an infection or medication.

In younger people who are generally well, a stem cell transplant might be advised. For some people, this may be the cure for AA.

Additional possible therapies consist of:
  • transfusions of blood
  • immunosuppressive drugs
  • drugs that increase your blood cell synthesis
  • drugs that work against infections, such as antibiotics or antifungals

What are the types of aplastic anemia?

There exist two distinct varieties of AA. AA can be inherited or developed.

When something starts to cause AA to develop, that is called developed AA. It is thought that this trigger lowers the quantity of healthy blood cells by making your immune system target bone marrow stem cells.

A medicine, an infection, or exposure to toxins in the environment are examples of potential triggers. Developed AA frequently has no known aetiology. We refer to this as idiopathic AA. About 65% of individuals with AA have idiopathic AA.

Rarely, you may be able to inherit AA. Gene alterations that are inherited from one or both of your parents are the cause of inherited AA. A few examples of hereditary disorders that might cause AA are dyskeratosis congenita and Fanconi anaemia.


When your bone marrow is unable to produce enough healthy red blood cells, AA occurs. Low levels of RBCs, WBCs, and platelets result in pancytopenia.

Along with other blood-related factors, a complete blood count (CBC) can determine your blood cell count. The amount of cells in a bone marrow sample and blood counts are two of the specific diagnostic criteria for AA.

The severity of your AA, along with your age and general health, might all affect the course of treatment. In the absence of treatment, AA may result in potentially dangerous consequences.


Does aplastic anemia affect RBC or WBC?

Red and white blood cells

Is iron high in aplastic anemia?

Iron overload

Is aplastic anemia Curable?

Stem-cell transplant is the only possible cure for aplastic anemia.

Can you live a full life with aplastic anemia?

Most patients survive for at least five years in most age groups.

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