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J Med. 1999;30(5-6):299-304.

Thromboembolic disease susceptibility related to red cell membrane fluidity in patients with polycythemia vera and effect of phlebotomies.

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Department of Internal Medicine, State University of New York at Buffalo Medical School, Buffalo General Hospital-Kaleida Health System 14203, USA.


Thromboembolic disorders are frequent complications in polycythemia vera. In addition to thrombocytosis with hyperaggregability, leukocytosis, and high hematocrit, hyperviscosity syndrome, a new component, is described in the pathophysiology of this phenomenon. There is decreased red cell membrane fluidity with decreased deformability which increases the susceptibility to microvascular occlusion and also increases the chance of disseminated intravascular coagulation (DIC). Periodic phlebotomies improved the hematologic picture in these patients and results in the removal of the "stiff" red cells with an increased production of young red cells, greater membrane fluidity, deformability and less chance of microvascular occlusion.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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