Polycythemia vera (PV) is a stem cell disorder characterized as a panhyperplastic, malignant, and neoplastic marrow disorder. Its prominent feature is an elevated absolute red blood cell mass because of uncontrolled red blood cell production; this goes with increased white blood cell and platelet production. Its peak incidence is age 50-70 years; it has no sex predilection.
- Symptoms due to impaired oxygen delivery: headache, dizziness, vertigo, tinnitus, visual disturbances, angina pectoris, intermittent claudication
- Complications: bleeding, thrombotic
- Physical examination findings: splenomegaly, hepatomegaly, plethora, hypertension
According to WHO, diagnosis of PV requires the presence of either all three major criteria or the first two major criteria and the minor criterion.
- hemoglobin >16.5 g/dL in men and >16 g/dL in women, or hematocrit >49% in men and >48% in women, or red cell mass >25% above mean normal predicted value
- bone marrow biopsy
- presence of somatic mutations
- low serum erythropoietin level
See reference for more information.
Adapted from Medscape Drugs & Diseases. Fast five quiz: are you familiar with key aspects of polycythemia vera? Internet. Available at kttps://reference.medscape.com/viewarticle/894719 . Accessed on April 30, 2018. To view the entire article and all other content on the Medscape Drugs & Diseases site, a free, one-time registration is required.