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polycythemia vera[‚päl·i‚sī′thē·mē·ə ′vir·ə]
(also erythremia, Vaquez’ disease), a chronic disease of the hematopoietic system first described by the French physician L. H. Vaquez in 1892. Polycythemia vera is characterized by an increase in erythrocyte, leukocyte, and platelet mass and in plasma volume. It is classified as a form of leukemia. The course of the disease is comparatively benign. The principal symptoms are a dark red coloration of the skin, elevated blood pressure, proneness to hemorrhaging and thrombosis, and enlargement of the spleen.
Cytological analysis of bone marrow is an important aid in diagnosis. Treatment includes phlebotomy and the administration of cytostatics.