Type your tag names separated by a space and hit enter

Polycythemia Vera

Polycythemia Vera is a topic covered in the 5-Minute Clinical Consult.

To view the entire topic, please or purchase a subscription.

Medicine Central™ is a quick-consult mobile and web resource that includes diagnosis, treatment, medications, and follow-up information on over 700 diseases and disorders, providing fast answers—anytime, anywhere. Explore these free sample topics:

Medicine Central

-- The first section of this topic is shown below --



  • Polycythemia vera (PV) is a chronic myeloproliferative clonal stem cell disorder marked by increased production of red blood cells (erythrocytosis) with excessive erythroid, myeloid, and megakaryocytic elements in the bone marrow.
  • Morbidity and mortality are primarily related to complications from blood hyperviscosity leading to thrombosis development as well as malignant transformation. Untreated patients may survive 6 to 18 months. Adequate treatment may extend life to >10 years.
  • Myelofibrosis can develop in the bone marrow, leading to progressive hepatosplenomegaly.
  • Synonyms: primary polycythemia; maladie de Vaquez disease; Waldenström disease; primary PV; PV rubra; polycythemia, splenomegalic; Vaquez-Osler disease


  • Predominant age: 50 to 75 years; however, can occur in early adulthood and childhood
  • Predominant sex: male > female (slightly)
  • Incidence in the United States in 2012: 2.8/100,000 population of men and 1.3/100,000 population of women; highest for men 70 to 79 years at 24/100,000 persons per year

In the United States in 2010, estimates ranged from 45 to 57 cases/100,000 patients.

Etiology and Pathophysiology

JAK2 V617F mutation associated with clonal proliferative disorder

JAK2 V617F (tyrosine kinase) mutation: >97% of patients with PV have an activating mutation; this is helpful in differentiating from secondary erythrocytosis. Homozygote carriers will have higher incidence of symptoms such as pruritus but will not have higher incidence of disease than heterozygotes.

Risk Factors

  • PV may be slightly more prevalent among Jews of Eastern European descent than other Europeans or Asians.
  • Familial history is rare.

Commonly Associated Conditions

  • Budd-Chiari syndrome
  • Ischemic digits
  • Mesenteric artery thrombosis
  • Myocardial infarction
  • Cerebrovascular accident or transient ischemic attack
  • Venous thromboembolism and pulmonary embolism

-- To view the remaining sections of this topic, please or purchase a subscription --


Stephens, Mark B., et al., editors. "Polycythemia Vera." 5-Minute Clinical Consult, 27th ed., Wolters Kluwer, 2019. Medicine Central, im.unboundmedicine.com/medicine/view/5-Minute-Clinical-Consult/116474/all/Polycythemia_Vera.
Polycythemia Vera. In: Stephens MB, Golding J, Baldor RA, et al, eds. 5-Minute Clinical Consult. 27th ed. Wolters Kluwer; 2019. https://im.unboundmedicine.com/medicine/view/5-Minute-Clinical-Consult/116474/all/Polycythemia_Vera. Accessed April 26, 2019.
Polycythemia Vera. (2019). In Stephens, M. B., Golding, J., Baldor, R. A., & Domino, F. J. (Eds.), 5-Minute Clinical Consult. Available from https://im.unboundmedicine.com/medicine/view/5-Minute-Clinical-Consult/116474/all/Polycythemia_Vera
Polycythemia Vera [Internet]. In: Stephens MB, Golding J, Baldor RA, Domino FJ, editors. 5-Minute Clinical Consult. Wolters Kluwer; 2019. [cited 2019 April 26]. Available from: https://im.unboundmedicine.com/medicine/view/5-Minute-Clinical-Consult/116474/all/Polycythemia_Vera.
* Article titles in AMA citation format should be in sentence-case
TY - ELEC T1 - Polycythemia Vera ID - 116474 ED - Stephens,Mark B, ED - Golding,Jeremy, ED - Baldor,Robert A, ED - Domino,Frank J, BT - 5-Minute Clinical Consult, Updating UR - https://im.unboundmedicine.com/medicine/view/5-Minute-Clinical-Consult/116474/all/Polycythemia_Vera PB - Wolters Kluwer ET - 27 DB - Medicine Central DP - Unbound Medicine ER -