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Article
September 1959

Relative PolycythemiaAlterations of Red Cell Distribution Simulating Hemoconcentration

Author Affiliations

Coral Gables, Fla.

From the Radioisotope Service, Veterans Administration Hospital, and the University of Miami School of Medicine, Coral Gables, Fla. Principal Scientist, Radioisotope Service, Veterans Administration Hospital, and Instructor in Biochemistry, University of Miami School of Medicine (Mr. Blum); Chief, Radioisotope Service, Veterans Administration Hospital, and Instructor in Pathology, University of Miami School of Medicine, (Dr. Zbar).

AMA Arch Intern Med. 1959;104(3):385-389. doi:10.1001/archinte.1959.00270090039006
Abstract

A high concentration of red cells in the venous blood, as indicated by hematocrit, red cell count, or hemoglobin concentration, is likely to be accepted as evidence of an increased amount of circulating red cells. An increased amount of circulating red cells may be a primary disorder (polycythemia vera), or it may be secondary to cardiopulmonary disease or low environmental oxygen tension.1

It is possible to have a high concentration of red cells in the venous blood without an increase in total red cell volume. A group of such patients, studied by Lawrence and Berlin,2 was found to have some of the symptoms of polycythemia vera: ruddy complexion, headache, easy fatigability, dizziness, etc. The total circulating red cell volumes were measured with radioactive phosphorus-labeled red cells and were found to be within normal limits, even though the venous hematocrits were greater than 50%. Since these findings are incompatible

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