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November 1975

Postsplenectomy Erythrocytosis, if not Polycythemia

Author Affiliations

Washington, DC

Arch Intern Med. 1975;135(11):1524. doi:10.1001/archinte.1975.00330110114017

To the Editor.  —Dr Crosby's review of The Spleen by Macpherson et al (135:625, 1975) quoted from the book, "There have been rare reports of polycythaemia as a late result of splenectomy." Then, the reviewer said, "0, to get one's hands on those reports!" I should like to offer some tangentially relevant citations dealing with erythrocytosis, and, in a few cases, perhaps polycythemia, that developed after removal of the spleen.The older references,1-5 although mentioning polycythemia, definitely do not fulfill present criteria for this disorder, since they rely on high red blood cell (RBC) counts or hemoglobin levels,1-3 or merely state that "polycythemia" occurred,4,5 antedating RBC mass determinations. No attempt was made to differentiate erythrocytosis from polycythemia. However, one report2 exists of three cases with symptomatic pancytosis diagnosed two, three, and 11 years after splenectomy. Other than for perhaps that one, Dr. Crosby is correct in

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