Polycythemia is a rare blood disorder that occurs when there are too
many red blood cells circulating in the bloodstream. Red blood cells carry
oxygen from the lungs to all parts of the body. Polycythemia causes the blood
to thicken, making it more difficult for the blood to flow through the body to
Children with polycythemia are treated at the Blood Disorders
Center at Dana-Farber/Boston Children's. Learn more about polycythemia below,
or visit the Blood
Disorders Center to learn about our expertise and treatment
Polycythemia is a blood disorder occurring when there are too many red blood cells, which
carry oxygen from the lungs through the blood stream to the rest of the body. The
excess red blood cells cause the blood to increase in volume and thicken,
keeping it from flowing easily.
Polycythemia can be divided into two overarching categories:
There are three forms of primary polycythemia:
Disorders Center at
Dana-Farber/Boston Children's Cancer and Blood Disorders Center specializes in
the treatment of children with primary familial and congenital polycythemia.
and children with polycythemia often have no visible symptoms. When they do
appear, the most common symptoms include:
In addition to a complete medical history and
physical examination, diagnostic procedures for polycythemia may include:
After all tests are
completed, doctors will be able to outline the best treatment options.
for polycythemia can include:
polycythemia, treatment usually focuses on the underlying cause.
medications for adult polycythemia vera are currently in development. The
results of these efforts, as well as of studies of the biology of adult
polycythemia vera, may one day benefit children with other forms of
children with rare or hard-to-treat conditions, clinical trials provide new
Contact us: If you’re not sure which clinical
trials might be right for your child, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We can help you navigate your options.