Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Bone Marrow Changes Often Defy Reason

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Bone Marrow Changes Often Defy Reason

Article excerpt

Dear Dr. Donohue: I was diagnosed in 1993 with agnogenic myeloid metaplasia with myelofibrosis. It manifested itself in low platelet counts. I was put on prednisone, and my count went from 14,000 to 35,000.

What could have made my body take out the line of platelets? For many months before the diagnosis was made, I was taking Bufferin for relief of headaches. I wonder if that caused my condition.

Agnogenic myeloid metaplasia with myelofibrosis? That's a bewildering, tongue-twisting mix of medical terms. "Myeloid" indicates trouble in the bone marrow. "Agnogenic" implies that the origin of the bone marrow changes is not known. Metaplasia is an alteration in size, shape or function of the marrow's product: blood cells. Myelofibrosis is scar tissue formation within the marrow - which decreases blood-cell production. Anemia, a reduction in red blood cell numbers, is the most common result of the condition. White blood cells and blood platelets - the clot-forming cells - have an unpredictable course. They might drop in number as your platelets did, or might remain in normal ranges. The spleen and liver attempt to assume their fetal role in blood-cell production. Both greatly enlarge. Your platelet count fell to dangerously low levels. Normal counts range from 150,000 to 450,000. Counts below 20,000 are open invitations to serious bleeding. Prednisone, a cortisone drug, has brought your platelet count up nicely. It's not at normal levels, but the rise has taken you out of the danger zone. Questions about cause have left the best medical minds scratching their heads. Bufferin played no role in the condition's appearance. Dear Dr. Donohue: A few months back I suffered congestive heart failure. My doctor prescribed Lasix and Digoxin. I asked him if I should be given the new drug carvedilol? He said no. I haven't had any problems since my hospital stay. …

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