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How to manage polycythemia vera.

Leukemia 2012 May
My diagnostic approach in case of isolated erythrocytosis is based on the visit and the interview of patients, and on checking the causes of secondary erythrocytosis. If causes of secondary erythrocytosis are not evident and serum erythropoietin level is low-normal, I study JAK2 mutations. In the case of a patient with erythrocytosis and other signs of myeloproliferation, such as leukocytosis, thrombocytosis or splenomegaly, the diagnosis of polycythemia vera (PV) is likely, and I test serum erythropoietin and JAK2 mutations first. I stratify patients at diagnosis of PV according to age and history of thrombosis. I start hydroxyurea for patients who are at a high risk of thrombosis (that is, with one or two risk factors), while I continue only phlebotomy in other cases. All PV patients, if not contraindicated, receive aspirin. I follow up patients monthly until normalization of their blood cell counts or splenomegaly, and afterwards every 2 months with visit, cell blood count and blood smear evaluation. After diagnosis, I perform bone marrow biopsy only in the case of clinical signs of disease evolution.

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