Childhood MDS and MPN diagnosis
How is childhood MDS and MPN diagnosed?
MDS and MPN are diagnosed by examining samples of your child’s blood and bone marrow.
Full blood count
The first step in the diagnosis is a simple blood test called a full blood count (FBC) or complete blood count (CBC). This involves a sample of blood from a vein in your child’s arm being sent to the laboratory for investigation. Most people with MDS have a low red cell and platelet count. A diagnosis needs to be confirmed by examining the cells in the bone marrow.
Bone marrow examination
If the results of the blood tests suggest MDS or MPN, a bone marrow biopsy may be required to help confirm the diagnosis. A bone marrow biopsy involves taking a sample of your child’s bone marrow (usually from the back of the hip bone) and sending it to the laboratory for examination under the microscope. The bone marrow biopsy may be done in the haematologist’s rooms, clinic or day procedure centre and is usually performed under a light anaesthetic or sedation given through a small drip in your child’s arm. The sample of bone marrow is examined in the laboratory to determine the number and type of cells present and the amount of haematopoiesis (blood-forming) activity taking place there.
Once the diagnosis of MDS or MPN is made, blood and bone marrow cells are examined further using special laboratory tests. These include immunophenotyping and cytogenetic tests. These tests provide more information about the exact type of disease your child has, the likely course of the disease and the best way to treat it. Other tests may be conducted to provide information on your child’s general health and how their vital organs are functioning. These include a combination of further blood tests and imaging tests (like x-rays, scans and ECG). These results will provide a baseline of your child’s disease and general health which will be compared with later results to assess how well your child is progressing and responding to treatment.