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Taking treatment for acute lymphoblastic leukemia. Noticed bloody nose. Cause and cure?

Answered by
Dr. Uma Rajah Ananth

Pediatrician, Neonatology

Practicing since :1970

Answered : 891 Questions

Posted on Thu, 20 Dec 2012 in Blood Disorders
Question: My eight year old son who is in his third year of Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia treatment started having bloody noses about eight months ago and in the last three weeks he has had 7 of them.The last three, took over 30 mins to stop. Last week the Onc checked his coagulation levels and said everything was fine but his PTT was 51. The next day he had a bad bloody nose, took him to the er and they did more blood work and said his level was now 39. Why would it go down that fast, a little over 24 hours? He had taken two doses of dexamethazone (3mg each time) inbetween the test. He did a total of 12 mgs of the dex over the next several days. Then one week later since the last bleed he got another one. His Platelet count is always around 300,000. But he tends to run a high neutrophil count between 60-80%. We are going to see an ENT next week, but my gut is telling me this is a blood problem. What do you think?
Answered by Dr. Uma Rajah Ananth 2 hours later
Welcome to HCM!
What are the other medications he is on now other than dexa.
What is his status of ALL of now?

The cause of epistaxis ( nose bleeds) in this child could be
1- either his basic problem
2 local problem in the nose for which you have ENT consult

Good that the platelet counts are OK.

The neutrophils result of 60-80% has to be correlated to the total white blood cell count.
This will give the absolute neutrophil count which is more significant.

Iam sure his oncologist will look into the blood problem after the ENT rules out local problems in the nose!

God bless
Dr Uma
Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Chakravarthy Mazumdar
Follow up: Dr. Uma Rajah Ananth 10 hours later
Thanks for your information.
First, my son's ALL treatment from a cancer's view is good, he will finish his 40 month treatment in about 3 months.
Second, his regular meds are , Methotrexate, 6-mp, Septra, neurontin, zantac, dex, plus his Vincristine every 28 days and once a week he gets 5gms of IgG infusions.
Third, white blood cell count is between a 1 and a 2. Anc on average is about 1200.
His last labs were wbc 1.8
hbg 11.9
plat 271
anc 1242
Neutrophils at 69%
lymphs at 16%
This is this a typical cbc for my son.
What can you tell me about the PTT levels being 51 and then the next day 39? He is still getting bad bloody noses.
Answered by Dr. Uma Rajah Ananth 8 hours later
Thanks for the details.

Regarding your query about PTT: this test is very sensitive.
Some times a small clot in the blood taken for examination can alter the result.
That is how may be you got such different values.
Always doctors want to reconfirm when there is an abnormal result!
A sample error happens in kids where there is difficulty in extraction.

The only way to confirm is to do a third test!
Of course in a child who already has so many pricks doctors will think every time when an extraction is ordered!

Liver involvement will be thought of when there is abnormal coagulation profile.

Good luck
God bless
Dr Uma

Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Chakravarthy Mazumdar

The User accepted the expert's answer

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