The definition of neutropenia varies from institution to institution and is usually defined as an absolute neutrophil count (ANC) <1.5 x 109/L (<1500 cells/microL) in an adult. Neutropenia is a normal side effect of chemotherapy. Any fever or suspicion of infection should be investigated immediately and managed aggressively.
Low numbers of circulating neutrophils reduce the body's ability to fight infection.
Infections increase in frequency and severity as the Absolute Neutrophil Count (ANC) decreases.
When the nadir persists for more than 7 to 10 days, the risk for severe infection increases.