What are the signs and symptoms of acute myeloid leukemia (AML)?

Updated: May 26, 2020
  • Author: Karen Seiter, MD; Chief Editor: Emmanuel C Besa, MD  more...
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Symptoms of bone marrow failure are related to anemia, neutropenia, and thrombocytopenia. The most common symptom of anemia is fatigue. Patients often retrospectively note a decreased energy level over past weeks. Other symptoms of anemia include dyspnea on exertion; dizziness; and, in patients with coronary artery disease, anginal chest pain. In fact, myocardial infarction may be the first presenting symptom of acute leukemia in an older patient.

Patients with AML often have decreased neutrophil levels despite an increased total white blood cell (WBC) count. Patients generally present with fever, which may occur with or without specific documentation of an infection. Patients with the lowest absolute neutrophil counts (ANCs) (ie, Absolute Neutrophil Count</a> calculator.

Patients often have a history of upper respiratory infection symptoms that have not improved despite empiric treatment with oral antibiotics.

Patients may present with bleeding gums and multiple ecchymoses. Bleeding may be caused by thrombocytopenia, coagulopathy that results from disseminated intravascular coagulation (DIC), or both. Potentially life-threatening sites of bleeding include the lungs, gastrointestinal (GI) tract, and central nervous system.

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