Polycythemia

Polycythemia

This is the opposite of anemia; the term literally means “many cells in the blood”. The blood becomes highly viscous (thick) and flows sluggishly. The condition results when tissues become hypoxic. Examples include:

Secondary polycythemia. People who live in high altitudes automatically produce large quantities of RBCs due to the sparse oxygen in the air. A patient with cardiac failure is also likely to develop this condition; the inefficient heart is not able to deliver enough oxygenated blood to tissues.

Polycythemia vera (also erythremia). This tumorous condition of the blood-forming organs causes production of massive amounts of RBCs, WBCs, and platelets. The most common cell line elevated in polycythemia vera is the RBC often referred to as red cell dyscrasia.

Hypercellular bone marrow sample showing prominent erythroid hyperplasia and scattered, increased megakaryocytes of varying sizes and shapes

Hypercellular bone marrow sample showing prominent erythroid hyperplasia and scattered, increased megakaryocytes of varying sizes and shapes

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