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Diagnosed with aplastic anemia, advised increase in platelet transfusions post rabbit serum-based treatment. Any other treatment options?

Hi, My 65 year old brother was diagnosed with aplastic anemia in December 2011. Six weeks ago, he had a rabbit serum-based treatment. He has since been in the hospital with blood on his lungs; it is thought that his platelet transfusions should be increased to prevent the bleeding . In any event, his regular doctor told my sister-in-law yesterday that it would be a miracle if he survives. I realize that this is a very unusual disease with not much history to go on. However, aren t there other alternatives than just giving up? Thank you.
Asked On : Mon, 23 Apr 2012
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Addiction Medicine Specialist 's  Response
I'm very sorry to hear about your brother. Aplastic anemia is a very serious condition. The bone marrow shuts down and no longer makes any white blood cells (protective immune cells), red blood cells (vital oxygen carrying cells), or platelets (clotting cells). This can happen due to cancers, radiation exposure, certain drugs, and many other causes.
Treatments vary and include steroids, injectable colony stimulating factors, transfusions (putting the cells in), and sometimes bone marrow transplantation. Transplantation is very hard to do because there must be an exact match (often a family member or child must donate, but even then a match is not guaranteed). However sometimes, depending on the actual reason for the anemia in the first place, the body starts making cells again on its own. Providing supportive care in the hospital is sometimes all we can do.
I hope things get better for your brother and I will keep him and your family in my thoughts.
Answered: Mon, 23 Apr 2012
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