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Erythroid hypoplasia is a condition in which an abnormally low number of red blood cells are produced and released into the body. There are a number of different conditions that can cause this disorder, some of them congenital and some of them caused by disease or injury. Patients with this condition may have moderate to severe anemia and can be at risk from lack of oxygen in the blood and cells. Blood transfusions are often used to treat this disorder in an emergency. In some patients, erythroid hypoplasia may need to be treated long term through the use of blood transfusions while in other cases the disorder may correct on its own or with the assistance of medication.
A patient with erythroid hypoplasia may have a mild, moderate, or severe form of the disorder. In the most severe cases, the patient produces no new red blood cells in the bone marrow, and the condition is referred to as erythroid aplasia. More moderate cases of this disorder may significantly decrease the level of red blood cells in the body but may not produce severe symptoms. Severe cases may require emergency intervention.
The symptoms of erythroid hypoplasia are the same as those experienced with other types of anemia. Unexplained fatigue is the most common symptom because the decrease in oxygen in the blood makes it difficult for the body and brain to receive enough oxygen. Feelings of being out of breath are also commonly experienced with erythroid hypoplasia as are feelings of dizziness or faintness. Patients with low red blood cell counts may also appear pale.
There are a variety of causes of erythroid hypoplasia. Newborns with disorders of the hematopoietic stems cells may not be able to produce a sufficient number of red blood cells. Cancer of the bone marrow is another condition that can lead to erythroid hypoplasia.
Patients with severe erythroid hypoplasia may require emergency medical attention. A severe drop in the number of red blood cells in a patient's bloodstream may cause the patient to lose consciousness and suffer brain damage. An emergency transfusion can provide relief from the symptoms of severe anemia. In some cases, however, patients may have sustained irreversible damage to the hematopoietic stem cells, in which case blood or marrow treatments may be needed frequently in order to keep the patient from showing symptoms of erythroid hypoplasia. In other cases, medication that stimulates red blood cell production may be enough to correct the disorder.