Management of aplastic anemia in a woman during pregnancy: a case report
1 Department of Obstetrics of Gynaecology, Erasmus University Medical Center, PO Box 2040, 3000 CA Rotterdam, The Netherlands
2 Department of Obstetrics of Gynaecology, Erasmus University Medical Center, PO Box 2040, 3000 CA Rotterdam, The Netherlands
3 Department of Hematology, Erasmus University Medical Center, PO Box 2040, 3000 CA Rotterdam, The Netherlands
Journal of Medical Case Reports 2011, 5:66 doi:10.1186/1752-1947-5-66Published: 15 February 2011
Aplastic anemia is a rare disease caused by destruction of pluripotent stem cells in bone marrow. During pregnancy it could be life-threatening for both mother and child. The only causal therapy for aplastic anemia is bone marrow transplantation, which is contraindicated during pregnancy because of potential embryo toxicity. Treatment options are erythrocytes and platelet transfusions and immunosuppressive therapy. There is, however, no agreement about the optimal supportive care and treatment regime for this disorder during pregnancy.
A 26-year-old nulliparous Asian woman with an uneventful medical history was admitted to the hospital at 14 weeks' gestation because of excessive vomiting. Routine laboratory tests showed pancytopenia (Hb 3.5 mmol/L, leukocytes 3.5 *109/L, platelets 45 *109L). A bone marrow biopsy confirmed aplastic anemia. Methylprednisolon, cyclosporine A, packed cells and platelet transfusions were initiated. At 33 weeks she developed neutropenia (0.1 *109/L) for which oral colistin and tobramycin were given prophylactically. At 35 weeks labor was induced, during which she developed a fever of 38.2°C. She gave birth spontaneously to a healthy son weighing 2415 grams, who had no signs of pancytopenia. After delivery the blood count of the patient did not recover and did not respond to medication. Eighteen weeks after delivery she died of sepsis complicated by cerebral bleeding and infarction due to severe thrombocytopenia and neutropenia, despite optimal supportive treatment.
This potential life-threatening disease has a relatively good prognosis for both mother and child after optimal treatment. Transfusion during pregnancy is the first choice treatment with recommended hemoglobin levels of >5.5 mmol/L and platelet counts of >20 *109/L. Cyclosporine A seems a reasonable alternative therapy with a reported success rate in non-pregnant patients of 70% when combined with antithymocyte globuline. Our patient died 18 weeks postpartum from cerebral bleeding and infarction due to severe thrombocytopenia despite intensive supportive treatment, methylprednisolon and cyclosporine A.