Polycythemia Vera: Diagnostic Work-Up and Treatment Options
Eddington, Joanne Tuthill
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Polycythemia Vera (PV) is a chronic myeloproliferative disorder characterized by excessive proliferation of erythrocytes, leukocytes and thrombocytes (Means, 1998; Broudy, 1996). Undiagnosed patients may present to their primary care providers with an elevated hematocrit. A thorough diagnostic work-up is essential in differentiating PV from secondary and relative polycythrnia. Treatment options for PV includes phlebotomy and myelosuppressive therapy. A good understanding of the diagnostic tests required to diagnose PV are necessary to appropriately refer patients to a hemotologist for treatment. With a thorough understanding of treatment options, primary care providers can counsel and supported their patients. This manuscript reviews the diagnostic tests required to accurately diagnose PV and reviews over 20 years of research evaluating treatment for PV.