Polycythaemia vera

Polycythaemia vera (older term: polycythaemia rubra vera) is a myeloproliferative disorder that results in an excess of red blood cells in the bloodstream.

The estimated prevalence is around 2-3 per 10,000 people. It typically presents in older individuals. There may be a slightly greater male predilection.

JAK2 mutations (particularly the V617F mutation) can be found in more than 95% of people with polycythaemia vera. 

Radiographic manifestations are varied and non-specific and can affect a number of system, including:

The overall prognosis can be variable with a wide natural course amongst individuals. Treatment options include venesection, myelosuppressive medications, interferon, and aspirin. 

Anagrelide is used when secondary thrombocythaemia is an issue. Oral radiophosphorus (32-P) is now avoided in 'benign' myeloproliferative diseases due to the risk of inducing acute myeloid leukaemia 5.

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Article information

rID: 49068
System: Haematology
Tag: cases
Synonyms or Alternate Spellings:
  • Polycythaemia rubra vera
  • Polycythemia rubra vera
  • Polycythemia vera

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