RESEARCH SUPPORT, NON-U.S. GOV'T
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The diagnosis and management of polycythemia vera in the era since the Polycythemia Vera Study Group: a survey of American Society of Hematology members' practice patterns.

Blood 2002 Februrary 16
The Polycythemia Vera Study Group (PVSG) was organized in 1967 to identify the optimal approach to the diagnosis and treatment of polycythemia vera (PV). Nevertheless, a systematic assessment of US physicians' approach to PV has not been performed. To determine practice patterns in the management of PV, a random sample of the US American Society of Hematology (ASH) membership was surveyed. Thirty-three percent of 3000 surveys were returned. Significant variations in diagnostic and therapeutic approach were evident by region, practice type, specialty, and clinical experience. Red cell volume determinations (78% of respondents), serum erythropoietin levels (76%), and arterial blood gases (75%) were the most frequent tests used in the diagnosis of PV. Sixty-nine percent of physicians use phlebotomy as their first choice for erythrocytosis. Phlebotomy plus hydroxyurea (27.8%) and hydroxyurea alone (10%) were used less often. Despite PVSG recommendations, almost 16% of physicians used a target hematocrit of 0.55 (50%) or 0.55 (55%) for phlebotomy therapy. Eighty-two percent of physicians treated thrombocytosis only when platelet counts exceeded 1000 x 10(9)/L (1 000 000/microL) or in the event of symptoms. Hydroxyurea (62.8%) and anagrelide (35.4%) were the primary agents used to treat thrombocytosis. Thus, this national survey of US hematologists and oncologists has identified substantial variation in the approach to the diagnosis and treatment of PV. A significant minority of physicians undertreat erythrocytosis, and little consensus exists regarding the treatment of thrombocytosis.

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