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Date of last update: 10/12/2017.

Forum Name: Hematology Topics

Question: Thalassemia Trait and Secondary Polycythemia

 mr1313 - Fri Jan 30, 2009 3:08 pm

Can alpha thalassemia trait cause secondary polycythemia in a person with iron deficiency without anemia?

Would it be difficult to diagnose the polycytemia since the hgb and hct would be within range because of the iron deficiency? Would the iron deficiency be difficult to diagnose because the hgb and hct are within range with a low ferritin level?
 Dr yasmin taha MD - Sat Feb 07, 2009 3:33 pm

If I understood your question correctly, there's no way that thalassemia trait can cause 2ry polycythemia in Fe deficiency. Please remember that their is a defect in the globin chain.

Polycythemia with Fe deficiency presents with: high hematocrit (Hct),low mean corpuscular volume (MCV), high hemoglobin, and a high RBC count.

Before there is a decrease of Hemoglobin in iron deficiency, the step before that is a decrease in iron stores; with reduced serum ferritin and marrow iron stores.

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