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Febrile Neutropenia: Treatment and Causes

by Alivia Nyhan
Published: Last Updated on

Febrile neutropenia is a medical emergency presented by those whose immune system is severely compromised, which leads to a greater susceptibility to presenting infections by microorganisms. Most are usually very serious, which can seriously compromise the life of the patient, so treatment must be carried out even without knowing the specific agent that causes the disease. This condition occurs more frequently in patients with solid tumors in 50% or hematological (blood) in 80%. In the following FastlyHealarticle we are going to tell you all about febrile neutropenia: treatment and causes .

What is Febrile Neutropenia

To understand this concept, it is better to define each word separately:

  • The neutropenia is defined as the decrease in circulating levels of a subpopulation of white blood cells (or leukocytes), neutrophils. Neutrophils are the most abundant population of leukocytes, cells in charge of immediate defense against infection. If they are found in low concentrations, there is a greater susceptibility to contagion by microorganisms. Under normal conditions, the number of neutrophils is in a range of 2000 to 7000 for each mL of blood, when this value is less than 2000 it is considered neutropenia . When the values ​​are below 100 / mL, it is considered a severe neutropenia, a dangerous medical emergency due to the high degree of compromise of the patient’s immune system.
  • The fever is a record in the highest temperature of 38.5 ° or 38 ° two largest an interval not less than one hour.

Causes and complications of febrile neutropenia

Febrile neutropenia occurs mainly as a consequence of immunosuppressive therapy , that is, one where the patient’s defense capacities must be suppressed in order to manage a major disease, for example, cancer. However, there are other causes that although they have a much lower incidence, but it is also important to take them into account:

  • Malignant infiltrate in the bone marrow : The bone marrow is a tissue that is located inside the large bones (femur, tibia …) and whose function is the production of many blood components, such as red and white blood cells.
  • As an adverse effect to the use of some medications : antibiotics, analgesics, anticonvulsants, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, thyrostatics, antihistamines, hypoglycemic agents, among others.
  • By toxic agents .
  • Idiopathic : Those that do not have a known cause.

In all these patients who have a depressed immune system, it is easier for them to acquire infectious diseases that can begin to manifest as fever. If the cause of your febrile neutropenia is cancer treatment, in the following FastlyHealarticles we give you some remedies to reduce the effects of chemotherapy and foods to raise platelets due to chemotherapy .

Febrile Neutropenia: Children and Risk Groups

Characteristics that can aggravate febrile neutropenia have been associated :

  • Neutropenia of more than seven days, with a very low count (less than 100 for each mL of blood).
  • Hypertension, Diabetes, Kidney failure.
  • Pneumonia.
  • Abdominal pain.
  • Neurological changes
  • Small children.
  • People over 60 years old.

Diagnosis of neutropenia

Reaching a diagnosis can be difficult because it does not present one of the most common presentations, which is inflammation, even more difficult when neutropenia occurs without fever. If the doctor suspects febrile neutropenia, some tests can be performed to determine the type of microorganism causing the condition, for example, blood count, coagulation, biochemistry, elemental urinalysis, chest X-ray or blood cultures. The vast majority of patients will not have a documented infectious entity. The sites where microorganisms usually attack are: the gastrointestinal tract, the lung and the skin.

Treatment and protocol for febrile neutropenia

If not treated quickly, this condition can be fatal. For this reason, the doctor is likely to prescribe drugs in the first two hours , even before knowing the type of microorganism that is affecting the body, an antibiotic therapy that kills many types of microorganisms. Afterward, you will be constantly monitored to observe your progress in order to adjust the therapy so that you have a better response.

If treatment is not carried out quickly, the chances of death are 75%. Around 50% of patients without an apparent source of infection will present with a hidden infection, so nonspecific treatment can be very useful.

Complications of neutropenia

If this compromise is not treated in the first two hours that the patient begins to experience symptoms, the person has a high probability of going into septic shock , a condition that can seriously compromise his life. In fact, once this point is reached, the probability of death rises to 75% .

This article is merely informative, at FastlyHeal .com we do not have the power to prescribe medical treatments or make any type of diagnosis. We invite you to see a doctor in the case of presenting any type of condition or discomfort.

If you want to read more articles similar to Febrile Neutropenia: Treatment and Causes , we recommend that you enter our Immune System category .

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