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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

A survey of phlebotomy among persons with hemochromatosis.

BACKGROUND: One in 10 whites in the United States is a carrier for hemochromatosis and an estimated 1 in 200 is clinically affected. Early treatment with therapeutic phlebotomy to remove excess iron can prevent associated chronic diseases. However, little information is available on the amount of blood withdrawn or the rates of withdrawal from hemochromatosis patients. The patterns of therapeutic phlebotomy and the magnitude of charges in persons with hemochromatosis were surveyed. STUDY DESIGN AND METHODS: Surveys were mailed to persons with hemochromatosis identified by health care providers, blood centers, patient advocacy groups, and the Internet. There were 2362 respondents to the survey from the United States. RESULTS: Thirty-seven percent of respondents reported being voluntary blood donors prior to diagnosis. The mean rate of therapeutic phlebotomy for iron depletion was 2.6 units per month (mean duration, 13 months). The mean rate of maintenance phlebotomy was 0.5 units per month.Therapeutic phlebotomy rates varied by sex, age, reason for diagnosis, and severity of symptoms. Seventy-six percent of respondents reported full or partial insurance coverage of therapeutic phlebotomy charges. Seventy-six percent received therapeutic phlebotomy services in a hospital or physician's office and 30 percent in a blood center. Charges for therapeutic phlebotomy varied by site, with a mean cost of $90 in hospitals and $52 in blood centers. Fifty-four percent of respondents attempted to donate blood after their diagnosis but were excluded. CONCLUSION: The amount of blood withdrawn from persons with hemochromatosis is substantial. The location where patients received phlebotomy services appears to be influenced by charges and time since diagnosis.[1]


  1. A survey of phlebotomy among persons with hemochromatosis. McDonnell, S.M., Grindon, A.J., Preston, B.L., Barton, J.C., Edwards, C.Q., Adams, P.C. Transfusion (1999) [Pubmed]
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