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Decreased or compromised ability to respond to antigenic stimuli with an appropriate immune response, as the result of one or more disorders in B-cell-mediated immunity, T-cell-mediated immunity, phagocytic cells, or complement. The immunodeficiency may be genetic or acquired following infections, drug abuse, multiple transfusions, immunosuppressive therapy, or malnutrition. Affected patients develop chronic infections that are difficult to treat and recur frequently; these infections frequently are caused by opportunistic organisms. Other findings related to the type and degree of deficiency in the immune system include failure to thrive, thrombocytopenia, and hepatosplenomegaly. Treatments vary depending on the underlying cause. They may include combinations of antiviral agents in the acquired immunodeficiency syndrome; infusions of intravenous immune globulin in disorders of humoral immunity; bone marrow transplantation in patients with malignancies; and antibiotics that specifically treat active infections. Cytokine therapy and gene therapy may play a role in the treatment of patients with defined genetic defects.
SYN: SEE: immune deficiency
SEE: acquired immunodeficiency syndrome; SEE: agammaglobulinemia
immunodeficient (im″yŭ-nō-dĕ-fish′ĕnt) (im-ū″nō-dĕ-fish′ĕnt), adj.