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Polycythemia (High Red Blood Cell Count) (cont.)

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Follow-up

Frequent monitoring is recommended during early treatment with phlebotomy until an acceptable hematocrit is adequately maintained. Thereafter, blood letting can be done as needed to maintain appropriate hematocrit based on each individual's response to this therapy.

Some of the complications of primary polycythemia, as listed below, often require closer follow-up and monitoring. These complications include:

  • Blood clot (thrombosis) causing heart attacks, stokes, clots in the legs or lungs, or clots in arteries. These events are considered the major causes of death by polycythemia.

  • Severe blood loss or hemorrhage.

  • Transformation to blood cancers (for example, leukemia, myelofibrosis).

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