13 December 2016
Selective withdrawal of red blood cells results in fewer treatments and lower costs

Alternative for phlebotomy in haemochromatosis

The selective withdrawal of red blood cells as a treatment for haemochromatosis (iron overload) is an effective and patient-friendly alternative to phlebotomy (bloodletting). This was the conclusion drawn by Eva Rombout of Maastricht UMC+ and Sanquin in her thesis on treating the hereditary condition haemochromatosis, in which the body absorbs too much iron. The current standard treatment is with phlebotomy, the removal of blood from the circulatory system. This method has side-effects and patients are required to have half a litre of blood taken every week during the initial stages of the disease. By selectively withdrawing only red blood cells, the number of treatments – and therefore the patient burden - can be reduced.