Aplastic anemia is a physiologic and anatomic failure of the bone marrow characterized by a marked decrease or absence of blood-forming elements in the marrow and peripheral pancytopenia (decreased red cells, white blood cells, and platelets). Splenomegaly, hepatomegaly, and lymphadenopathy are not characteristic of this condition. Aplastic anemia may be congenital or acquired.
Figure 6-1 delineates in schematic form an approach to the differential diagnosis of pancytopenia, and Table 6-9 lists the investigations to be carried out in a patient with pancytopenia.
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