Background: Benign (ethnic) neutropenia (BN) is an inherited condition, common in many parts of the world, and often undiagnosed. It should be differentiated from other types of neutropenia which increase the risk of infections.
Objective: We aimed to ascertain the frequency of neutropenia in patients from a population (citizens of the United Arab Emirates) with a known high frequency of BN (10.7%) to assess how often clinicians might be compelled to differentiate benign neutropenia from other types of neutropenia.
Methodology: Study subjects were 27,392 Emirati inpatients and outpatients of all ages in a general hospital. They had 55,935 absolute neutrophil counts (ANC). Patients were defined to have neutropenia if the ANC was <1.5x109/L. The frequency of neutropenia was analyzed against several relevant variables.
Results: Among patients who had one test, the overall frequency of neutropenia (5.3%) was half that in a healthy population (10.7%) in earlier study (p < 0.0001). The prevalence of neutropenia was lower in hospitalized (3.5%, 132/3,769) than in non-hospitalized (9.2%, 510/5,570) patients (p<0.0001), where it was similar (p=0.13) to that in the general population (10.7%, 110/1032). While none of the 282 pregnant women at the time of delivery had neutropenia, it was most common among pediatric outpatients (15.1%, 75/497). Neutropenia was more frequent in patients who had more ANC determinations: one test, 5.3%; two tests, 7.8%; three and more tests, 12.4% (p<0.00001).
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