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Cerebral Thrombosis in Smokers' Polycythemia

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▸Requests for reprints should be addressed to Donald C. Doll, M.D.; Hematology/Oncology Section (111), Veterans Administration Medical Center, 7th and Indian School Road; Phoenix, AZ 85012.

Veterans Administration Medical Centers; Phoenix and Tucson, Arizona

Ann Intern Med. 1985;102(6):786-787. doi:10.7326/0003-4819-102-6-786
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Smokers' polycythemia is characterized by erythrocytosis, a raised concentration of carboxyhemoglobin, and a normal or reduced plasma volume due to tobacco smoking (1, 2). The polycythemia may be absolute (elevated red cell mass) or relative (normal red cell mass). Vascular occlusive episodes may occur in patients with polycythemia vera (3) or spurious polycythemia (4), and cerebral thrombosis has also rarely been reported in patients with secondary polycythemia due to congenital cyanotic heart disease. However, there are no reports of cerebral thrombosis associated with polycythemia resulting from smoking. We describe the cases of two patients with smokers' polycythemia who had a


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