What is refractory anemia ringed sideroblasts thrombocytosis?

Autism asked...

I just found on my mother has refractory anemia ringed sideroblasts and thrombocytosis. Can anyone give me any info on this disorder????

Expert Answer

Jennifer Serafin, N.P. is a registered nurse and geriatric nurse practitioner at the Jewish Homes for the Aged in San Francisco.

Refractory anemia with ringed sideroblasts (RARS) is part of a spectrum of disorders known as myelodysplastic syndromes. This disease usually presents with an anemia, and upon working up the cause of the anemia, this abnormality with the blood cells is discovered. People with RARS can also have thromobocytopenia (low platelets) and leukopenia (low white blood cell counts), but not always. Diagnosis is usually made with tests like peripheral blood smears and a bone marrow biopsy. Other causes of anemias should be excluded as well.

Treatment of this disorder is supportive, and usually involves monitoring bloodwork and getting transfusions as needed. If there is a low erythropoetin level, sometimes treatment with Epogen or Aranesp may help. I would recommend having your mother followed by a hematologist for this disorder.