oa Central African Journal of Medicine - Aplastic anaemia in Zimbabweans

Volume 33, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 0008-9176



This retrospective study documents 69 patients who presented with aplastic anaemia (AA) and were diagnosed at the University of Zimbabwe's Department of Haematology over a three-year period. The disease was commonest in the second decade and 80 per cent of the patients had the onset of their illness within the first four decades, with a male : female ratio of 1,2 : 1. The clinical manifestations, haematological features and related complications. as they occur in indigenous Africans. are the same as have been documented in Caucasian populations. Notable findings at presentation were anaemia (89,9%); gingival bleeding (18,8%); purpura (13%); pneumonia (13%); pyrexia (11.6%) and congestive cardiac failure (8.7%). A positive history of exposure to environmental agents considered to be related to bone marrow aplasia was: 4 (5,8%) African muti; 3 (4,4%) each for agrochemicals and hepatitis; 2 (2,9%) for paints and 1 (1,4%) each for arsenic, indomethicin and chloramphenicol abuse. Whole blood transfusions or blood component therapy with platelets or red cell concentrates, adrenocorticosteroids or androgenic steriods administration and antibiotic therapy for specific infections constituted an important triad in the conventional supportive care for most patients. The study confirms that the disorder is not rare in indigenous Zimbabweans and appears to run a fulminant course with a high mortality as overall evaluation revealed that: 25 (36.2%) patients died; 40 (57,9%) were lost to follow-up and most of them presumed dead, while only 4 (5.8%) are still alive at the time of presenting this analysis.

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