What is idiopathic/immune neutropenia of young adults?

By William Aird

A benign condition diagnosed in young adults, with some resemblance to autoimmune neutropenia in children and the so-called ethnic neutropenia:

  • Occurs in young adults.
  • Because of the lack of any definitive tests, the diagnoses “autoimmune neutropenia” and “idiopathic neutropenia” are used nearly synonymously.
  • Neutropenia may be mild, moderate or severe; may be associated with profound reduction in neutrophil count (< 0.5 x 109/L).
  • Usually detected incidentally on a complete blood count.
  • Those with severe neutropenia may develop recurrent fevers, upper respiratory infections and skin infections, but the infections are readily treated with antibiotics in most cases.
  • The ANC may normalize during infections.
  • Rarely associated with other organ-specific autoimmune diseases.
  • Lasts several years or even life-long, with a female predominance (80% women).

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