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Red blood cells, elliptocytosis
Red blood cells, elliptocytosis


Blood cells
Blood cells


Definition:

Hereditary elliptocytosis is a disorder passed down through families in which the red blood cells are oval-shaped.

See also: Hereditary spherocytosis



Alternative Names:

Elliptocytosis - hereditary



Causes, incidence, and risk factors:

Elliptocytosis affects about 1 in every 2,500 people of northern European heritage. It is more common in people of African and Mediterranean descent. You are more likely to develop this condition if someone in your family has had it.



Symptoms:
  • Fatigue
  • Shortness of breath
  • Yellow skin (jaundice) - may persist for a long time in a newborn


Signs and tests:

An examination by your health care provider may occasionally show an enlarged spleen .

The following tests may help diagnose the condition:

  • Bilirubin may be high.
  • Blood smear may show elliptical red blood cells.
  • Complete blood count (CBC) may show anemia or red blood cell destruction.
  • LDH "bad" cholesterol may be high.
  • Ultrasound of the gallbladder may show gallstones.


Treatment:

There is no treatment needed for the disorder unless red blood cells rupture. Surgery to remove the spleen may decrease red blood cell rupture.



Support Groups:



Expectations (prognosis):

Most persons with hereditary elliptocytosis have no problems, and are unaware of their condition.



Complications:

Elliptocytosis is frequently harmless. In mild cases, fewer than 15% of red blood cells are oval-shaped. However, some people may have crises in which the red blood cells rupture, releasing their hemoglobin . Persons with this disease can develop anemia , jaundice , and gallstones .



Calling your health care provider:

Call for an appointment with your health care provider if you have jaundice that doesn't go away or symptoms of anemia or gallstones.



Prevention:

Genetic counseling may be appropriate for persons with a family history of this disease who wish to become parents.



References:

Golan DE. Hemolytic anemias: red cell membrane and metabolic defects. In: Goldman L, Ausiello D, eds. Cecil Medicine. 23rd ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2007:chap 165.




Review Date: 11/8/2008
Reviewed By: David C. Dugdale, III, MD, Professor of Medicine, Division of General Medicine, Department of Medicine, University of Washington School of Medicine; and James R. Mason, MD, Oncologist, Director, Blood and Marrow Transplantation Program and Stem Cell Processing Lab, Scripps Clinic, Torrey Pines, California. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.

The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Call 911 for all medical emergencies. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. © 1997- A.D.A.M., Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.
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