Special Issues for People with Aplastic Anemia

Because you have aplastic anemia, everyday events can be more risky for you than for healthy people. Here are some examples.

Airplane Travel and High Altitudes

The farther you get from Earth, the less oxygen there is. If you have aplastic anemia, flying in an airplane or going up high in the mountains may cause a shortage of oxygen. It may also cause chest pain. Changes in cabin pressure can cause bleeding inside the ear if platelets are very low. The recirculated air may increase risk of viral infection.

Before you do either of these things, it's a good idea to:

Pregnancy and Aplastic Anemia

Pregnancy is possible for women who have been treated for aplastic anemia. But it carries some significant risks for both mother and child.

There is limited research on pregnancy and aplastic anemia. However, one study done in 2002 showed that 19 percent of women had a relapse of aplastic anemia during pregnancy. This means that their blood counts went down. Some women also needed blood transfusions during childbirth.

This study also showed that you may have an increased risk of problems during pregnancy if:

  • You have a low platelet count.
  • You also have PNH.

If you have had aplastic anemia and are pregnant or want to get pregnant, find an aplastic anemia specialist and an obstetrician (OB) who specializes in high-risk births. Every person and every pregnancy is different. Make sure you talk with the specialist about your specific case and understand all the risks.


Surgery can also be risky for people with aplastic anemia. Surgery can cause serious bleeding in people with a low platelet count. Platelet transfusions may be needed before surgery. The risk for serious infections is also higher.

If you do have surgery, it's a good idea to make sure your aplastic anemia specialist talks with your surgeon.