The Role of Bone Marrow Evaluation in Clinical Allergy and Immunology Practice: When and Why

Nathan A. Boggs*, V. Koneti Rao

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Allergists and immunologists rely on other specialists for higher risk procedures such as biopsies of the lung or gastrointestinal tract. However, we perform and interpret a handful of procedures ourselves. Training programs have historically required competency for prescribing immunoglobulin infusions, patch testing, rhino laryngoscopy, lung function testing, and provocation testing for airway hyperreactivity even though other specialists often perform them. Bone marrow aspirations and biopsies are not included in fellowship training assessments despite a significant number of marrow evaluations being requested by allergists and immunologists. For example, nearly 1 marrow assessment per month has been requested over 2 years for patients in the Allergy Immunology Clinic at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center. Marrow assessments are often required for diagnosis, monitoring, and treatment-related toxicities. Interpretive and procedural competency would benefit the field given the range of diseases in clinical immunology practice that require marrow assessment. We have generated a comprehensive list of the major conditions that might require bone marrow assessments in any Allergy and Immunology practice. We then summarize the specific tests that must be ordered and show how to determine sample quality. Finally, some providers may desire procedural competency and for those individuals we discuss tips for the procedure.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3356-3362
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology: In Practice
Issue number10
StatePublished - 1 Nov 2020
Externally publishedYes


  • Bone marrow aspiration and biopsy
  • Competency
  • Indications
  • Sample quality
  • Testing


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