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October 1978

Leukopenia in Anorexia Nervosa: Lack of Increased Risk of Infection

Author Affiliations

From the Departments of Medicine (Dr Bowers) and Psychiatry (Dr Eckert), University of Minnesota School of Medicine, Minneapolis.

Arch Intern Med. 1978;138(10):1520-1523. doi:10.1001/archinte.1978.03630350050015

To determine whether patients with anorexia nervosa (AN) and leukopenia have an increased risk of infection, we reviewed the incidence of leukopenia and infection in 68 cases of AN and studied the mechanism of profound neutropenia in one. Compared with controls, patients with AN had substantially lower total leukocyte counts and absolute neutrophil, lymphocyte, and monocyte counts. Despite frequent and often severe panleukopenia, the patients with AN had no more infections than did the control subjects. The patient with severe neutropenia had a hypocellular bone marrow biopsy specimen showing relative myeloid hyperplasia, normal distribution of neutrophils between the marginal and circulating pools, and normal bone marrow neutrophil reserves as estimated by response to hydrocortisone sodium succinate. We conclude that patients with AN and associated leukopenia do not have increased infection propensity.

(Arch Intern Med 138:1520-1523, 1978)

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