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Concerned About Lab Report

Jul 22, 2012

I recently had an MRI done on my lower and upper back, due to back problems I've had for years. I was reviewing the lab report, and was concerned by something I read. The pain management doc, who ordered the MRI, said nothing about this.

It said, "The marrow signal intensity is low on the T1 and T2-weighted images suggesting extentive red marrow. Question if this patient is anemic or other blood pathology. Recommend further evaluation. There is no evidence for tumor or other pathology."

I've been HIV poz for 11 years now. I've read HIV can affect bone marrow, but I admit that I'm still not all that knowlegable on how HIV affects bone marrow. On most of my labs, I'm always normal as far as WBC, RBC, etc. I'm often 1 point below the level of normal for hematocrit. However, on my last lab, I was actually in the normal range. For the first time, my neutrophils were low, but just 2 points under the norm. And, my lymphs were high--3 points above normal. And, my creatinine was low for the first time, but just by a few points.

I'm curious whether you'd have any idea what this finding suggests? A friend in the medical field mentioned this could be indicative of HIV, or lymphoma. Earlier this year, I did have a large node/mass pop up in my armpit that was painless. That worried me at first and caused me to think of something like lymphoma. However, the node/mass went down and didn't spread.

Thanks for any input--whether normal with HIV, or something suggesting need for further evaluation.

Response from Dr. Holodniy

The MRI finding is nonspecific and could point a variant of normal in HIV infection or blood disorder of some kind. It is reassuring that your blood counts are all essentially normal. Your doctor may want to follow-up with a hematologist to see if anything further needs to be done at this time.

HIV + want to have a baby

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