The outlook for aplastic anemia depends on its cause and severity, as well as the health and age of the patient. Cases that are caused by certain medications, pregnancy, low-dose radiation or infectious mononucleosis often are short term, and any complications (anemia, bleeding, increased infections) usually can be treated. Women who develop aplastic anemia during pregnancy may have the problem during future pregnancies as well.
Aplastic anemia can be fatal when it is severe and long lasting. Between 70% and 90% of patients who receive a bone marrow transplant from a sibling survive. The survival rates are much lower for patients treated with a bone marrow transplant from an unrelated donor. When a bone marrow transplant is not possible, about 50% of patients will respond well to immunosuppressive therapy alone. However, long-term survivors receiving immunosuppressive therapy are more likely to develop cancer, especially acute leukemia.
Patients with severe, chronic aplastic anemia that does not respond to available treatments have an 80% chance of dying within 18 to 24 months.
People with aplastic anemia are at higher than average risk for developing leukemia.