2.1 Signs and symptoms

2.1 Signs and symptoms

Symptoms at presentation are usually non-specific. The following symptoms should be investigated:

  • fatigue, pallor or other symptoms of anaemia
  • symptoms of serious infection, such as tachycardia, high fevers, rigors
  • unresolving or unusual infection or fever
  • abnormal bleeding or bruising
  • sore gums or mouth ulcers
  • unexplained bone pain
  • unintentional weight loss
  • unexplained fevers.

The following signs and symptoms require consultation as a medical emergency:

  • sepsis
  • symptomatic anaemia
  • severe thrombocytopenia < 20 × 109/L
  • major laboratory abnormalities
  • very high white cell count (> 50 × 109/L) or signs of hyperviscosity, such as visual disturbance, confusion, severe headache or breathlessness
  • spontaneous/uncontrolled bleeding
  • coagulopathy.

People with AML may only have mild symptoms. It is not uncommon that a patient with few or no symptoms is diagnosed unexpectedly on a blood test conducted in primary care.

The presence of multiple signs and symptoms listed above is highly suggestive of AML, particularly in people with a history of an underlying pre-disposing haematological condition.

Presenting symptoms should be promptly and clinically triaged with a health professional.