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Prevalence and clinical significance of neutropenia discovered in routine complete blood cell counts: a longitudinal study

IMG_3349In a study by C. L. Andersen, et. al, published in the Journal of Internal Medicine, it was revealed that with regard to neutropenia :

  1. Neutropenia, defined as an absolute blood neutrophil count (ANC) <1.5 G L, may accompany a variety of diseases. However, the clinical significance of neutropenia detected in a routine complete blood cell count is poorly understood.
  2. Using a primary care resource, comprising more than 370 000 individuals, we assessed the association with a number of previously recognized conditions as well as all-cause mortality in the 4 years following the identification of neutropenia. By matching laboratory data with Danish nation-wide health registers, risk estimates were assessed.
  3. Neutropenia was observed in approximately 1% of all individuals and was associated dose dependently with viral infections, haematological malignancies (but not autoimmune disorders or solid cancers) and mortality.

The conclusion was that:

The lower the ANC, the greater the likelihood of these diseases. The relative risk estimates observed for severe neutropenia corresponded to absolute risks of haematological malignancies and mortality from any cause of 40% and >50%, respectively.

In other words, a low ANC cannot be ignored, and requires thorough investigation until the underlying condition causing the low ANC is determined and addressed.

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Clinical Significance of Neutropenia in Routine Complete Blood Cell Counts