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May 27, 1974

Polycythemia Vera in Nonagenarian

Author Affiliations

From the Midwest Oncology Center, Borgess Hospital, Kalamazoo, Mich.

JAMA. 1974;228(9):1148. doi:10.1001/jama.1974.03230340050034

POLYCYTHEMIA vera is a disease of unknown origin, characterized by insidious onset, chronic course, and increase in the number of red blood cells (RBC) and total blood volume.1 All of the patients reported so far in various series2-5 have been less than 80 years of age. We recently encountered a 96-year-old white woman with polycythemia vera.

Report of a Case  A 96-year-old white woman of German extraction was admitted to Borgess Hospital, Kalamazoo, Mich, on Jan 15, 1973, because of increasing confusion and fecal and urinary incontinence. She was previously hospitalized in June 1965 for congestive heart failure. In March 1971, she was readmitted to Borgess Hospital because of transient cerebral ischemic attacks and severe osteoarthritis of both knees. The laboratory tests then disclosed the following values: hemoglobin, 16.8 gm/100 ml; RBC, 8.51 million/cu mm; hematocrit, 56.8%; and white blood cells (WBC), 30,400/cu mm with eight band cells,