Symptoms | Agranulocytosis


Since granulocytes are part of the immune system, the symptoms correspond to the symptoms of a severely immunocompromised patient, for example patients with AIDS, bone marrow tumour patients, leukaemia patients, etc. Immunocompromised patients are more susceptible to bacterial and viral infections, as well as to fungal diseases (mycoses). Not only do they get them more easily, but they are also less able to fight the disease that has broken out.

They begin to feel unwell and develop flu-like symptoms such as headaches, joint pain, loss of appetite, fever and chills. As the mucous membranes around body entry points, i.e. various body orifices, are particularly susceptible to infection, these are also the first to become inflamed as soon as the immune system is no longer able to protect them adequately. The typical triad of the disease is therefore fever, tonsillitis (angina tonsillaris) and inflammation of the mouth with whitish coatings (stomatitis aphtosa).

Normally the body is able to keep inflammation in check and prevent it from spreading. If the body is unable to do so because its defences are weakened, it is possible for bacteria or fungi to find their way into the bloodstream and the inflammation spreads to the entire body, making the patient septic. Sepsis can be fatal if left untreated, especially in patients who were already weakened before.


If the agranulocytosis has been triggered by medication, the medication causing it is discontinued and replaced by an alternative medication which does not have agranulocytosis as a side effect. The body should then be able to regenerate itself again. If a patient is already ill, the immune system must receive support from outside to fight the disease.

Antibiotics and antimyotics (antifungals) are used to help the weakened immune system fight the disease. Affected persons can take care to prevent infections by increased hygiene measures and active avoidance of infection sources.