BRUCE M. SMALL, M.D.
To the editor: Koeffler and Goldwasser (1) have applied a sensitive radioimmunoassay for erythropoietin to the problem of distinguishing between primary and secondary polycythemias. Although they report a clear separation between patients with polycythemia vera and those belonging to a mixed group with secondary erythrocytoses, their results as stated need further comment.
Their patients with polycythemia vera had a mean hematocrit of 54%, and their patients with secondary polycythemia had a mean hematocrit of 56% at the time erythropoietin measurement. Although the authors state that no patient had received phlebotomy for 5 weeks, or chemotherapy for an unspecified time before
SMALL BM. Erythropoietin and Polycythemias. Ann Intern Med. ;95:243. doi: 10.7326/0003-4819-95-2-243_1
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Published: Ann Intern Med. 1981;95(2):243.
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