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Disease Complications

Thrombosis (Blood Clots)

Abnormalities in the platelets increase a patient’s risk of developing blood that is too thick and blood clots inside a blood vessel. Blood clots can block the flow of blood in the vessel, depriving tissues of normal blood flow and oxygen. Blood clots can cause stroke, heart attack or pulmonary embolism (blockage of an artery in the lungs). Blood clots occur in about 30 percent of patients even before polycythemia vera (PV) is diagnosed.


Enlarged Spleen

The spleen is an organ located on the left side of the upper abdomen near the stomach and below the rib cage. The spleen filters the blood, stores blood cells and destroys old blood cells. The spleen may become abnormally enlarged in some individuals with PV because the spleen is working harder to manage the increased number of blood cells.


Other Blood Diseases

In some cases, PV may progress to other related blood diseases including myelofibrosis, acute myeloid leukemia and, less commonly, myelodysplastic syndrome. 


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