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Genetic and Rare Diseases Information Center (GARD)

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Acquired pure red cell aplasia

Other Names for this Disease
  • Acquired PRCA
  • Adult pure red cell aplasia
  • Idiopathic pure red cell aplasia
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Your Question

My uncle has had pure red cell aplasia for almost three years. About two years ago the hospital in my home town would not treat him anymore because they thought it was impossible to cure him. My mother transferred him to a bigger hospital in another city. Now he is taking medications for a very long time but his hemoglobin never goes up. The hospital said there is nothing to do if those medications don't work. My whole family is hopeless again now. Could you please help my uncle? He is only forty years old.

Our Answer

We have identified the following information that we hope you find helpful. If you still have questions, please contact us.

How might acquired pure red cell aplasia be treated?

The main goals of treatment for pure red cell aplasia (PRCA) are to restore the production of red blood cells, maintain adequate hemoglobin levels, and treat underlying disorders that may be causing the condition. The initial treatment plan typically includes blood transfusions for individuals who are severely anemic and have cardiorespiratory failure.[1] PRCA due to medication or infections is usually reversible within a few months. Therefore, medications that may be causing the condition should be discontinued, and infections that may cause the condition should be treated.[1] Underlying conditions that may cause PRCA such as a thymoma, hematological cancers, solid tumors, and systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) should be treated as necessary as well.[1] When the condition is idiopathic (of unknown cause) or due to an autoimmune disorder, PRCA is typically initially treated with corticosteroids.[1]

It has been reported that individuals who seem to be resistant to treatment may respond to a single course of intravenous immunoglobulin (IVIG,) while others have responded to a single dose. In the United States, financial issues may make it difficult to obtain this treatment because IVIG is expensive and is not approved by the Food and Drug Administration to treat PRCA.[2]

Additional and more detailed information about the management of acquired PRCA may be found on eMedicine's web site and can be viewed by clicking here.
Last updated: 12/15/2011