Bone Marrow Failure Diseases

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Facts

The body’s bone marrow is what makes the blood cells used in our body to carry oxygen, fight infections, and clot to stop bleeding. Bone marrow failure diseases inhibit this process so the marrow can’t make enough blood cells that the body needs.

Bone Marrow Diseases

At SCCA and Seattle Children’s, we treat inherited and acquired bone marrow failure diseases, including:

These conditions are all different and can affect the body in different ways. The symptoms of each condition depend on the cause, the types of blood cells affected, and the other body systems involved.

Symptoms

If your child has a bone marrow failure disease, he or she may have:

  • A higher risk of infection, and may bet sick more often than usual or more often than most other children
  • Feelings of tiredness, fatigue, dizziness, and have pale skin, which are symptoms of the body's cells not getting enough oxygen
  • Have more bruising than normal or bleed easily

Diagnosis

To diagnose a bone marrow failure disease, your doctor will take a detailed health history and perform a medical examination of your child. Diagnostic tests include:

  • Blood tests, to check the level of each kind of blood cell and look at the blood cells under a microscope
  • Bone marrow aspiration and biopsy, to find out if there are any problems with the bone marrow 
  • Ultrasound or echocardiogram may be used to look inside your child’s body for other related problems that may be caused by conditions that also cause bone marrow failure.

Your child's doctor will create a treatment plan that is best suited to your child's problems and needs.