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Aplastic Anemia Treatment in Israel

Aplastic Anemia Treatment in Israel

Aplastic anemia is a serious medical condition characterized by the bone marrow’s inability to produce enough new blood cells. This deficiency leads to a state known as pancytopenia, where there is a reduction in the number of red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelets. Red blood cells are crucial for carrying oxygen throughout the body, white blood cells are essential for fighting infection, and platelets help clot blood. The onset of aplastic anemia can be sudden or gradual and can occur at any age. The condition can be mild or severe, with severe cases being life-threatening. It can result from inherited disorders, certain medications, environmental factors or may occur without a known cause.

aplastic anemia

Aplastic Anemia Diagnosis

Diagnosing aplastic anemia involves a thorough evaluation to understand the extent of bone marrow failure and to rule out other conditions that might cause similar symptoms. The process typically includes a series of blood tests and a bone marrow biopsy, each playing a crucial role in confirming the diagnosis.

Blood Tests

Blood tests are the initial step in diagnosing aplastic anemia. A complete blood count (CBC) is fundamental, as it measures the levels of red blood cells, white blood cells and platelets. In aplastic anemia, the CBC typically shows lower-than-normal counts of all three types of cells, a condition known as pancytopenia. Additionally, a reticulocyte count, which measures young red blood cells, is also conducted. Low levels of reticulocytes indicate that the bone marrow isn’t producing enough new blood cells.

Further blood tests may include checks for vitamin deficiencies, liver function tests, and tests for viral infections, as these conditions can sometimes mimic or contribute to the symptoms of aplastic anemia.

Bone MarrowBiopsy

If blood tests suggest aplastic anemia, a bone marrow biopsy is usually the next step. This procedure involves taking a small sample of bone marrow, typically from the hip bone, for examination under a microscope. In aplastic anemia, the bone marrow sample will show a lower than normal amount of blood-producing cells. This is a key diagnostic feature differentiating aplastic anemia from other blood disorders, where the bone marrow might be overactive or infiltrated by abnormal cells.

The biopsy also helps determine the severity of the condition, which is crucial for planning appropriate treatment. In some cases, additional tests might be done on the bone marrow sample to look for genetic or chromosomal abnormalities, which can provide further insight into the cause of the anemia and guide treatment decisions.

Aplastic Anemia Symptoms

Aplastic anemia manifests through various symptoms linked to deficiencies in specific cell types. The reduction in white blood cells, particularly neutrophils (neutropenia), increases the risk of infections. Patients often experience frequent or severe infections due to the weakened immune response. Additionally, leukopenia, a decrease in the overall white blood cell count, further compromises the body’s ability to fight infections.

Another critical aspect is thrombocytopenia, where the blood has an insufficient number of platelets. This leads to symptoms like easy bruising, prolonged bleeding from cuts, nosebleeds and bleeding gums.

The symptoms of aplastic anemia can be subtle at first but usually intensify as the condition progresses. They can significantly impact the quality of life and, without adequate treatment, may be fatal, underscoring the importance of early diagnosis and effective management.

Aplastic Anemia Treatment

Treating aplastic anemia involves a multifaceted approach designed to manage symptoms, prevent complications and address the underlying bone marrow failure. The treatment plan typically includes blood transfusions, a bone marrow transplantation, immunosuppressants, bone marrow stimulants, and antibiotics or antiviral drugs.

Blood Transfusions

Blood transfusions are a common and immediate treatment to relieve symptoms of aplastic anemia. Red blood cell transfusions help in alleviating fatigue and shortness of breath caused by anemia, while platelet transfusions reduce the risk of bleeding due to thrombocytopenia. However, transfusions are not a cure; they provide temporary relief and must be repeated as the effects wear off.

Bone marrow transplant (stem cell transplant)

A bone marrow transplantation is often considered the most effective treatment for aplastic anemia, especially in younger patients or those with a matched donor. It involves replacing the damaged bone marrow with healthy cells from a donor, which then develop into new, healthy blood cells. The success of this treatment depends on several factors, including the patient’s overall health and the compatibility of the donor.


Immunosuppressants are used when a bone marrow transplant isn’t an option or as a part of the treatment plan before the transplant. These drugs suppress the immune system, which is believed to play a role in the development of aplastic anemia by attacking the bone marrow. They help reduce this immune response, allowing the bone marrow to recover and produce blood cells.

Bone marrow stimulants

Bone marrow stimulants, such as growth factors, are medications that encourage the bone marrow to produce more blood cells. These can be effective in mild cases of aplastic anemia or in conjunction with other treatments.

Antibiotics and antiviral drugs

Due to the increased risk of infections from neutropenia, antibiotics and antiviral drugs are often prescribed to prevent or treat infections. These medications are crucial in managing aplastic anemia, as infections can be particularly severe among patients with this condition.

Each treatment has its considerations and potential side effects, which is why individualized treatment plans are essential. At Sheba, your medical team will assess your unique condition and create a personalized treatment plan, focusing on the most effective and suitable options for your specific needs.

aplastic anemia

Living with Aplastic Anemia

Living with aplastic anemia involves adapting to a condition that can significantly impact daily life. Key aspects of managing the disease include regular medical care, lifestyle adjustments and coping with the emotional and physical challenges that result from a chronic illness.

Regular medical appointments are crucial for monitoring the condition and adjusting treatment as needed. This may include frequent blood tests, medication adjustments and treatment for complications or side effects. Patients with aplastic anemia often need to be vigilant about infection prevention due to their compromised immune systems, which may require avoiding large crowds or people who are sick and maintaining good hygiene.

Lifestyle adjustments can also play a significant role in managing aplastic anemia. A balanced diet, regular exercise tailored to one’s energy levels and adequate rest are important. It’s also advisable to avoid activities that increase the risk of bleeding or injury due to the potential for reduced platelet counts.

Emotionally, living with aplastic anemia can be challenging. Patients may experience feelings of anxiety, depression or isolation. Seeking support from friends, family, support groups or professional counselors can be beneficial. Education about the disease and open communication with the healthcare team can also help patients feel more in control of their condition.

Aplastic Anemia at Sheba

Aplastic anemia, while a challenging and complex condition, can be effectively managed with the right approach and medical expertise. Advancements in treatment and understanding of the disease have significantly improved the outlook for patients. At Sheba, our experts are equipped with the knowledge and experience necessary to treat this illness effectively. We focus on a personalized approach, understanding that each patient’s journey is unique. Our commitment to research and staying at the forefront of medical innovation ensures that we offer the most current and effective treatments.

Aplastic Anemia Prognosis

The prognosis for aplastic anemia varies significantly depending on several factors, including the severity of the condition, the patient’s age, and the response to treatment. Advances in medicine, particularly in bone marrow transplantation and immunosuppressive therapies, have significantly improved the outlook for many patients. Younger patients and those who receive a bone marrow transplant from a matched sibling donor generally have a better prognosis. For individuals who respond well to immunosuppressive therapy, the long-term survival rate has also increased.

However, aplastic anemia can be a chronic condition with potential relapses, and long-term monitoring is often necessary. Some patients may experience complications associated with the disease or its treatment, such as infections or increased risk of other blood disorders, which can affect their overall prognosis. It’s important for patients to receive ongoing care and regular follow-ups with their healthcare team to manage the condition effectively and address any complications promptly.

Our Doctors

Professor Arnon Nagler is the head of hemato-oncology department, a world-renowned specialist for leukemia treatment at Sheba Medical Center
Arnon Nagler, MD, MSc
Director of the Division of Hematology Director of Bone Marrow Transplantation and Cord Blood Bank
Prof. Nagler specializes in hematology, bone marrow transplantation, and internal medicine. He has pioneered many treatments for malignant and non-malignant blood disorders in Israel. He established the first public cord blood bank at Sheba in 2001, and he performed the first cord blood transplantation in Israel. In addition to his role at Sheba Medical Center, Prof. Nagler is a Professor of Medicine at Tel Aviv University. Prof. Nagler received his medical degree from the Hebrew University – Hadassah Medical School, in Jerusalem, Israel, and then completed a postdoctoral fellowship at Stanford University, in the United States. In addition to receiving numerous awards, he is widely published and a world-renowned speaker. Prof. Nagler has also been the lead investigator on over 15 clinical trials and holds over 40 patents and trademarks.
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Amos Toren
Amos Toren, MD, PhD, MHA
Director of the Pediatric Hemato-Oncology and Bone Marrow Transplant Division
Prof. Toren specializes in pediatrics, general hematology, and pediatric hemato-oncology. His particular areas of research are in CAR T-cell therapy for relapsed/resistant CD19 expressing leukemias and lymphomas, and treatment for pediatric brain tumors. Prof. Toren is also a world-renowned expert in bone marrow transplantations and the genetic aspects of hematological diseases. He received his medical degree from the Sackler Faculty of Medicine, Tel Aviv University. He also has a PhD in Genetics from Tel Aviv University, and a Master of Health Administration from the Recanati Business School, Tel Aviv.
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