How I manage children with neutropenia

Br J Haematol. 2017 Aug;178(3):351-363. doi: 10.1111/bjh.14677. Epub 2017 Apr 17.


Neutropenia, usually defined as a blood neutrophil count <1·5 × 109 /l, is a common medical problem for children and adults. There are many causes for neutropenia, and at each stage in life the clinical pattern of causes and consequences differs significantly. I recommend utilizing the age of the child and clinical observations for the preliminary diagnosis and primary management. In premature infants, neutropenia is quite common and contributes to the risk of sepsis with necrotizing enterocolitis. At birth and for the first few months of life, neutropenia is often attributable to isoimmune or alloimmune mechanisms and predisposes to the risk of severe bacterial infections. Thereafter when a child is discovered to have neutropenia, often associated with relatively minor symptoms, it is usually attributed to autoimmune disorder or viral infection. The congenital neutropenia syndromes are usually recognized when there are recurrent infections, the neutropenia is severe and there are congenital anomalies suggesting a genetic disorder. This review focuses on the key clinical finding and laboratory tests for diagnosis with commentaries on treatment, particularly the use of granulocyte colony-stimulating factor to treat childhood neutropenia.

Keywords: childhood neutropenia; congenital neutropenia; granulocyte colony stimulating factor; neonatal neutropenia; neutropenia.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Autoimmune Diseases / diagnosis
  • Autoimmune Diseases / drug therapy
  • Child
  • Granulocyte Colony-Stimulating Factor / therapeutic use
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Infant, Premature
  • Infant, Premature, Diseases / diagnosis
  • Infant, Premature, Diseases / drug therapy
  • Infant, Premature, Diseases / etiology
  • Neutropenia / congenital
  • Neutropenia / diagnosis*
  • Neutropenia / drug therapy
  • Neutropenia / etiology


  • Granulocyte Colony-Stimulating Factor