In a retrospective study 37 patients who fitted into the clinical spectrum of myelodysplastic syndrome were reviewed. Special attention was paid to the influence of monocyte count, degree of blastic infiltration and ring sideroblasts and on the clinical presentation and the course of the disease. Monocyte count clearly distinguishes between two groups of patients with different haematological profile and clinical course. The patients with monocytosis frequently changed to acute myeloid leukaemia and had shorter survival rates compared with those without monocytosis. The degree of blastic infiltration does not affect the haematological presentation and the frequency of acute leukaemia evolution. However, increased blastic infiltration is associated with shorter survival. Patients with ringed sideroblasts presented with profound anaemia but the clinical course of the disease did not differ from the remainder.

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