Bone Marrow Failure: Overview

What is bone marrow failure?

Bone marrow failure, also called aplastic anemia, is a syndrome in which a child's bone marrow fails to produce red blood cells, white blood cells and platelets.

What causes bone marrow failure?

Bone marrow failure can be inherited or acquired because of infection, inflammation or exposure to drugs and chemicals.

Types of inherited bone marrow failure disorders include:

  • Fanconi's Anemia
  • Diamond-Blackfan Anemia
  • Dyskeratosis Congenita
  • Shwachman-Diamond Syndrome
  • Amegakaryocytic Thrombocytopenia

However, more than half of all cases of bone marrow failure are not inherited and no known cause such as infection or inflammation is discovered.

Who gets bone marrow failure?

Acquired aplastic anemia, or bone marrow failure, is common in children ages 1 to 5 and in adolescents 12 to 20 years old. It is equally common in males and females. People of Asian heritage are more likely to develop aplastic anemia.

Helpful resources for bone marrow failure