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Pancytopenia with hypocellular bone marrow is the hallmark of aplastic anaemia (AA) and the diagnosis is confirmed after careful evaluation, following exclusion of alternate diagnosis including hypoplastic myelodysplastic syndromes. Emerging use of molecular cyto-genomics is helpful in delineating immune mediated AA from inherited bone marrow failures (IBMF). Camitta criteria is used to assess disease severity, which along with age and availability of human leucocyte antigen compatible donor are determinants for therapeutic decisions. Supportive care with blood and platelet transfusion support, along with anti-microbial prophylaxis and prompt management of opportunistic infections remain key throughout the disease course. The standard first-line treatment for newly diagnosed acquired severe/very severe AA patients is horse anti-thymocyte globulin and ciclosporin-based immunosuppressive therapy (IST) with eltrombopag or allogeneic haemopoietic stem cell transplant (HSCT) from a matched sibling donor. Unrelated donor HSCT in adults should be considered after lack of response to IST, and up front for young adults with severe infections and a readily available matched unrelated donor. Management of IBMF, AA in pregnancy and in elderly require special attention. In view of the rarity of AA and complexity of management, appropriate discussion in multidisciplinary meetings and involvement of expert centres is strongly recommended to improve patient outcomes.

Original publication




Journal article


Br J Haematol

Publication Date



ATG, aplastic anaemia, stem cell transplantation