Send to:

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
Baillieres Clin Haematol. 1987 Sep;1(3):665-93.

The contracted plasma volume syndromes (relative polycythaemias) and their haemorheological significance.


Relative polycythaemia is a general term which includes patients with a normal red cell mass but a contraction of the plasma volume as the cause for the polycythaemia. The relative polycythaemias can broadly be divided into two groups. Firstly, relative polycythaemia may be due to a primary loss of plasma volume due to dehydration, capillary leak or hypo-oncotic pressure. Secondly, relative polycythaemia may be due to a primary contraction of the vascular compartment (i.e. reduced venous compliance). It is this second group which is the least understood and is analysed in detail in this review. In general, this group of polycythaemias is secondary to exogenous or endogenous stress and is mediated via the sympathetic nervous system. Hypoxia, smoking, neurological disorders, myocardial infarction and acute psychological stress have all been demonstrated as possible factors. In many cases of chronic stress polycythaemias aetiological factors may be identified, whereas in others the term idiopathic is probably appropriate. There appears to be a relationship between the idiopathic stress polycythaemias, hypertension and psychological stress. Other patients may have primarily a disorder of blood volume control involving the autonomic nervous system and its receptors. The haemorheological significance of relative polycythaemia and its management are discussed. Treatment is generally dictated by the underlying cause. In stress polycythaemias the stimulus should be removed as far as possible. However, in some patients with chronic idiopathic stress polycythaemia, regular venesection may be required to maintain the venous haematocrit at an appropriate level.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Loading ...
    Write to the Help Desk