Polycythemia (Elevated Haematocrit)

Availability

North South North West Statewide

Pre-referral work-up

History

Polycythemia is a primary or secondary phenomenon.

Secondary causes of polycythemia generally relate to smoking or other chronic lung pathologies.  Consider referral to Respiratory Clinic for the primary condition.

Primary polycythemia (myeloproliferative neoplasm: polycythemia vera) should be considered in the presence of splenomegaly.

All referrals should comply to referral standards and include in particular:

  • Relevant investigations, including previous results to assess temporal pattern
  • Relevant clinical findings including splenomegaly

Tests

  • Jak-2 (positive) and erythropoietin (low/low-normal) are useful blood tests to further investigate suspected primary polycythemia
    (Jak-2 negative polycythemia is rare)

Interim/GP management

To refer a patient with this condition, please see the Haematology clinic page for the full referral process and templates.

Cessation to smoking.

For more information please see the Tasmanian Health Pathways website.

Red flags are clinical indicators of possible serious underlying conditions requiring further medical intervention. They may or may not indicate an emergency.

Emergency:

Proceed to Emergency Department (ED). Please contact ED Medical Officer in Charge:
LGH ED – Phone: (03) 6777 6405  Fax: (03) 6348 7382
MCH ED – Phone: (03) 6478 5120  Fax: (03) 6441 5923
NWRH ED – Phone: (03) 6493 6340  Fax: (03) 6464 1926
RHH ED - Phone: (03) 6166 6100  Fax: (03) 6173 0489 - Discuss with the on call Haematologist/Registrar via switch (03) 6166 8308

Urgent:

Urgent Referrals generally need to be seen in the next one to two weeks

Please discuss these with the Haematology Registrar/Haematologist on call via switchboard on 6166 8308

Semi-urgent:

Triaged by medical staff and generally seen in the next six to eight weeks

Routine:

Triaged by medical staff and given the next available appointment