Polycythemia (Polycythemia Vera) is a malignant disease caused by excessive formation of blood cells. Over time, the patients develop severe hemorrhagic complications and even acute myeloblastic leukemia. Therefore, the pathology diagnostics at early stages is critical.
Diagnostics requires the hematologist’s or oncologist’s advice. The physician clarifies the complaints, collects the case history and conducts a clinical examination. When there is a suspicion for polycythemia, the patient is prescribed:
- Complete blood count. The patients’ hemogram shows an increased number of erythrocytes, thrombocytes and leukocytes, as well as increased erythrocyte sedimentation rate.
- Blood chemistry. In the presence of pathology, the analysis shows an increase in alkaline phosphatase and serum Vit. B12.
- Cytogenetic analysis. The hematopoietic cells determine mutations associated with a malignant disease.
- Abdominal ultrasound. Polycythemia increases the size of the liver and spleen, and causes ulcers in the digestive tract.
- Comprehensive CT or MRI. Scanning the whole body allows diagnosing the condition of blood vessels, bone, heart and other internal organs affected by the disease.
- Biopsy. During the procedure, the physician takes a sample of the patient's bone marrow. The resulting material is sent for histological analysis establishing the exact nature of the tumor process.
According to the test findings, the physician establishes a final diagnosis. Upon confirmation of polycythemia, an individual therapy program is developed for the patient.