Polycythemia in Patients With Hereditary Hemochromatosis: Real or Myth?

Samia Asif, Madeline Begemann, Shahzad Raza


Background: Hereditary hemochromatosis (HH) is an autosomal recessive disorder affecting iron metabolism, resulting in iron accumulation in tissue parenchymal cells. Missense mutations result in homozygosity or heterozygosity for substitutions in the HFE gene, with the most common being C282Y and H63D.

Methods: With an aim to evaluate an association between polycythemia and HH, retrospective chart review was performed for 152 patients with known HFE mutations. Parameters reviewed included individual HFE genotypes, gender distribution, hemoglobin (Hgb) and hematocrit (Hct) levels, median ferritin levels and whether or not phlebotomy was required.

Results: Of 152 patients, 96 (63.2%) were men and 56 (36.8%) were women. Median Hgb and Hct were noted to be higher in men compared to women irrespective of HFE status. Mean age was 60.5 years (range 22 - 93 years). Regarding HFE mutation, 44 (28.9%) patients were C282Y/C282Y, 10 (6.6%) were H63D/H63D and 27 (17.8%) had one copy of each mutation. One patient in the study group was H63D/S65C. Median Hgb and Hct were noted to be 15.5 g/dL and 44.9% respectively in C282Y/C282Y subjects, 16.0 g/dL and 47% in H63D/H63D subjects, 15.8 g/dL and 46% in C282Y/H63D subjects, 16g/dL and 47% in those with single C282Y mutation and 16.6g/dL and 48% in those with single H63D mutation. A total of 67.1% subjects received phlebotomy. A total of 21.7% patients in this cohort were active tobacco users and only 8.6% had an established pulmonary diagnosis, including obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Elevated Hgb levels were noted despite absence of an established reason for secondary polycythemia. Anemia was not encountered despite concurrent medical conditions that would usually be associated with anemia, including gastrointestinal bleeding or end-stage renal disease (ESRD).

Conclusions: Elevated Hgb and Hct levels in HH may be secondary to increased iron uptake by erythroid cell precursors in the bone marrow, in setting of increased availability of both transferrin-bound as well as non-transferrin-bound iron (NTBI). Additional studies need to be pursued to explore the association between HFE mutations and secondary polycythemia.

J Clin Med Res. 2019;11(6):422-427
doi: https://doi.org/10.14740/jocmr3816


Hereditary hemochromatosis; Secondary polycythemia; HFE mutation

Full Text: HTML PDF





Browse  Journals  


Journal of clinical Medicine Research

Journal of Endocrinology and Metabolism

Journal of Clinical Gynecology and Obstetrics

World Journal of Oncology

Gastroenterology Research

Journal of Hematology

Journal of Medical Cases

Journal of Current Surgery

Clinical Infection and Immunity

Cardiology Research

World Journal of Nephrology and Urology

Cellular and Molecular Medicine Research

Journal of Neurology Research

International Journal of Clinical Pediatrics






Journal of Clinical Medicine Research, monthly, ISSN 1918-3003 (print), 1918-3011 (online), published by Elmer Press Inc.            
The content of this site is intended for health care professionals.
This is an open-access journal distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License, which permits unrestricted
non-commercial use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Creative Commons Attribution license (Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International CC-BY-NC 4.0)

This journal follows the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE) recommendations for manuscripts submitted to biomedical journals,
the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE) guidelines, and the Principles of Transparency and Best Practice in Scholarly Publishing.

website: www.jocmr.org   editorial contact: editor@jocmr.org
Address: 9225 Leslie Street, Suite 201, Richmond Hill, Ontario, L4B 3H6, Canada

© Elmer Press Inc. All Rights Reserved.