Stephen J. Schueler, M.D.

Overview Symptoms

Neutropenia Overview

Another name for Neutropenia is Low Neutrophil Count.

What is a low neutrophil count?
A person with a low neutrophil count has an abnormally low level of white blood cells in the blood. Neutrophils are just one type of white blood cell, but make up anywhere from 45 to 70% of all white blood cells in the body. Neutrophils play the important role of protecting the body from infection by bacteria and fungi. Neutropenia is the medical term used to describe an abnormally low neutrophil count. Neutropenia is diagnosed when the neutrophil count is less than 1,700 cells per microliter (one millionth of a liter) of blood.

What are the symptoms of a low neutrophil count?
A low neutrophil count may not cause any symptoms at all if it is mild. More severe neutropenia may cause symptoms of a poorly functioning immune system. If the low neutrophil count is severe, one might have oral or rectal ulcers, fever, periodontal disease and bacterial pneumonia. Other symptoms of a poorly functioning immune system include body aches, diarrhea, fatigue, rash, runny nose, sore throat, and lymph gland swelling.

How does the doctor treat a low neutrophil count?
The treatment of a low neutrophil count depends upon the underlying cause. Antibiotic and antifungal medications are used to treat infections.

Continue to Neutropenia Symptoms

Last Updated: Aug 27, 2010 References
Authors: Stephen J. Schueler, MD; John H. Beckett, MD; D. Scott Gettings, MD
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PubMed Neutropenia References
  1. dos Santos Fernandes G. [The latest developments in control of fungal infections in neutropenic patients]. Drugs Today (Barc). 2010 Mar;46 Suppl B:1-6. [20407662]
  2. Dunleavy K, Tay K, Wilson WH. Rituximab-associated neutropenia. Semin Hematol. 2010 Apr;47(2):180-6. [20350665]
  3. Mebis J, Goossens H, Berneman ZN. Antibiotic management of febrile neutropenia: current developments and future directions. J Chemother. 2010 Feb;22(1):5-12. [20227985]
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