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Validity of rapid estimation of erythrocyte volume in the diagnosis of polycytemia vera

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In the diagnosis of polycytemia vera, estimation of erythrocyte volume (EV) from plasma volume (PV) and venous hematocrit (Hct v ) is usually thought unadvisable, because the ratio of whole body hematocrit to venous hematocrit (f ratio) is higher in patients with splenomegaly than in normal subjects, and varies considerably between individuals. We determined the mean f ratio in 232 consecutive patients suspected of polycytemia vera (\(\bar f = {\text{0}}{\text{.967}}\);SD 0.048) and used it with each patient's PV and Hct v to calculate an estimated normalised EV n . With measured EV as a reference value, EV n was investigated as a diagnostic test. By means of two cut off levels the EV n values could be divided into EV n elevated, EV n not elevated (both with high predictive values), and an EV n borderline group. The size of the borderline EV n group ranged from 5% to 46% depending on position of the cut off levels, i.e. with the efficiency demanded from the diagnostic test. EV can safely and rapidly be estimated from PV and Hct v , if \(\bar f\) is determined from the relevant population, and if the results in an easily defineable borderline range of EV n values are supplemented by direct EV determination.

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Correspondence to Paul Rødbro.

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Nielsen, S., Rødbro, P. Validity of rapid estimation of erythrocyte volume in the diagnosis of polycytemia vera. Eur J Nucl Med 15, 32–37 (1989). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00253596

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Key words

  • Erythrocyte volume
  • Polycytemia vera
  • Isotope dilution technique
  • Body/venous hematocrit ratio