Myelodysplastic syndromes are a family of closely-related yet distinct syndromes characterized by defective, abnormal or inefficient haematopoiesis (blood cell formation) that specifically affects the myeloid lineage of cells (platelets, red blood cells and granulocytes and their precursors); any one, or any combination of myeloid lineages may be affected. All are characterized by an abnormally high or low number of cells in the bone marrow, these cells are often abnormal in shape or have defects in maturation and cytopenias.
They are also known to sometimes develop into acute myeloid leukaemia, despite this most of the mortality that results from MDS is related to cytopenias and their complications like infection and bleeding.
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