Emergency icon Important Updates
Lately, it seems like you’re always exhausted, dizzy and headachy. And sometimes you don’t even feel up to doing simple tasks. What’s happening?

While these symptoms can be signs of a virus or another infection, they can also point to a rare blood condition like pure red cell aplasia (PRCA). Sometimes these symptoms can be so severe that they can sideline you from life. But it doesn’t have to be that way. PRCA is treatable. And we’re here to help.

Cleveland Clinic’s skilled healthcare providers are experienced in diagnosing and treating all types of blood conditions, including the rare ones, like pure red cell aplasia. They’ll listen carefully, answer your questions and find out what’s happening. And they’ll use what they learn to craft a highly personalized treatment plan to help get you off the sidelines and back to enjoying the life you love.

Why Choose Cleveland Clinic for Pure Red Cell Aplasia Care?

specialized knowledge icon

Specialized knowledge:

Cleveland Clinic is home to some of the nation’s leading experts in rare blood conditions. Their highly specialized expertise means they’ll diagnose you correctly before treatment begins. You can count on us for expert care and compassionate support.

trusted experts icon

Trusted experts:

Patients nationwide travel to Cleveland Clinic for PRCA diagnosis and treatment. The Aplastic Anemia and MDS International Foundation regularly refers patients to us for pure red cell aplasia care.

collaborative care icon

Collaborative care:

Some types of pure red cell aplasia happen when you have other conditions, like blood cancer, arthritis, lupus and even certain viruses. Cleveland Clinic’s team-based approach to care combines the expertise of many providers to meet your unique diagnosis and healthcare needs. Meet our team.

caring approach icon

Caring approach:

Living with a rare blood condition can be stressful. You may feel anxious and uncertain about what’s coming next. We’re here to guide you through treatment and keep a close eye on your mental and emotional needs, too. Our social workers are here for you with the support and resources you might need.

Virtual Consultation icon

Virtual visits:

Not all appointments need to be in person. Virtual visits let you meet one-on-one with your providers using an internet connection and a smartphone, tablet or computer. You can go over your treatment progress, ask questions and talk about any concerns you have — all from the comfort and convenience of home.

national recognition icon

National recognition:

Cleveland Clinic is a trusted healthcare leader. We're recognized in the U.S. and throughout the world for our expertise and care.

Diagnosing Pure Red Cell Aplasia at Cleveland Clinic

Your bone marrow (the soft, spongy tissue inside your bones) makes red blood cells, which carry oxygen to your tissues and organs. But sometimes things go wrong, and this doesn’t happen. Pure red cell aplasia can slow or stop your bone marrow from making red blood cells, which can cause severe anemia. It can make you feel exhausted, short of breath and dizzy. You may also have frequent headaches, ringing in your ears and chest pain.

You might have PRCA because you were born with (inherited) it — Diamond-Blackfan anemia, usually diagnosed in children within the first year of their life, can lead to pure red cell aplasia.

Or maybe you acquired it later in life. Some medications can slow how many red blood cells your bone marrow makes. Even pregnancy can sometimes trigger PRCA.

An underlying health condition, viral or bacterial infection, like one of these, may also cause PRCA:

Because there are many reasons why you might have PRCA, it’s important to work with healthcare providers experienced in diagnosing and treating this severe anemia.

What to expect at your first visit

When you come in for your first appointment, your provider will want to know all about your symptoms, how long you’ve had them, if they’re getting worse and how they’re affecting your life.

You’ll also have a physical exam, and your provider will order tests to learn more about what’s going on inside your body.

Blood tests

You may have several kinds of blood tests to check your blood cell levels and rule out or confirm PRCA. These tests may include:

Your provider will let you know if any other, more specialized tests are needed in addition to the above tests.

Imaging tests

We may also recommend imaging tests to find any underlying medical conditions. These tests may include a chest CT scan to check for tumors and a bone marrow aspiration or bone marrow biopsy.

Meet Our Pure Red Cell Aplasia Team

Our internationally renowned specialists are some of the few in the country with the expertise to treat pure red cell aplasia. That’s why providers nationwide and the Aplastic Anemia and MDS International Foundation often refer people to Cleveland Clinic for PRCA care. Our team-based approach means you’ll see experts from different specialties — all carefully chosen to meet your specific needs. Your personalized team could include: 


We offer treatment for Pure Red Cell Aplasia at the following location in Northeast Ohio.

Treating Pure Red Cell Aplasia at Cleveland Clinic

Your care team will work with you to create a treatment plan that focuses on your unique diagnosis and needs. Treatments may include:

  • Immunosuppressants: Corticosteroids, like prednisone or cyclosporine A, used with or without corticosteroids can help control your immune system if an autoimmune condition causes your PRCA.
  • Blood transfusions: A blood transfusion can help treat symptoms of severe anemia.
  • Chelation therapy: This treatment removes excess iron from your blood after a transfusion.
  • Surgery: Your provider can remove a thymus tumor with surgery.
  • Immune globulin therapy: An injection (shot) of immune globulin can help treat parvovirus B19 infections.
  • Treating other conditions that might be causing PRCA.

If you have no signs of PRCA after treatment, then you’re in what’s called remission. But pure red cell aplasia can come back. When it does, it’s called recurrence or relapse. That means you’re living with a chronic (lifelong) condition. So, it’s important to continue with follow-up care so your providers can keep an eye on your health and adjust your long-term care plan as your needs change.

Taking the Next Step

Having a rare condition like pure red cell aplasia can shake up your world. It can leave you wondering about your future and finding the best possible care. You don’t have to look far. You’re in compassionate, capable hands at Cleveland Clinic. You’ll have a care team that keeps you at the center of all we do — from diagnosis to personalized treatment and ongoing follow-up. We’re here to help you manage your PRCA and feel more like yourself.

Getting an appointment with Cleveland Clinic’s pure red cell aplasia experts is easy. We’re here to help you get the care you need.


Getting an appointment with Cleveland Clinic’s pure red cell aplasia experts is easy. We’re here to help you get the care you need.

Manage your Cleveland Clinic account. Find billing information and financial assistance, plus FAQs.

Billing & Insurance

Manage your Cleveland Clinic account. Find billing information and financial assistance, plus FAQs.

Securely access your personal health information at any time, day or night.


Securely access your personal health information at any time, day or night.

Woman with a shaved head due to chemotherapy treatment is hopeful following remission.


Learning you have cancer can be stressful, shocking and challenging. From the moment you get the news, you're a survivor. As you face the challenges that go along with cancer treatment and recovery — physical and emotional — we’ll be right there with you.

At Cleveland Clinic, survivorship care is one part of your journey. We offer a wide range of services, resources, clinics and support groups to help with any physical, emotional, financial and spiritual needs you might have related to your cancer diagnosis. Lending a helping hand along the way, we want you to not only survive, but thrive on this journey and beyond.

Health Library
Back to Top