Blood plays an important role in every person’s health, including helping doctors determine a patient’s medical condition. A person needs to have their blood samples drawn through phlebotomy to do that. Doctors may request patients undergo this procedure to diagnose their health accurately.
Phlebotomy is a procedure in which a needle is used to take blood from a vein, typically for laboratory testing. But it may also be done as a form of treatment, also known as therapeutic phlebotomy. In general, phlebotomy is important in treating medical conditions such as hereditary hemochromatosis.
Although it isn’t commonly heard of these days, doctors can still recommend therapeutic phlebotomy to treat patients. If you’re wondering what it is, you can read about it in this blog that covers everything you need to know about therapeutic phlebotomy.
What is therapeutic phlebotomy?
Therapeutic phlebotomy is a treatment for people who have excessive iron in their bodies. Excessive iron in the body is harmful, so it must be controlled. For instance, too much iron in the blood can cause potential diseases, and one way to treat that is to find how to get blood work done near me.
Undergoing therapeutic phlebotomy has a specific purpose compared to general blood draws, where many things are tested. Its objective is to remove blood to decrease levels of certain substances in the patient’s body. It also has to be specially ordered by your doctor.
Conditions therapeutic phlebotomy can treat
As mentioned before, therapeutic phlebotomy is a treatment for people with excessive amounts of iron in their bodies, specifically in the blood. It’s a lifesaving procedure for patients with too much iron in their blood and related medical conditions. An example that causes this is hemochromatosis, a condition that causes the body to absorb iron excessively from food.
Besides hemochromatosis, therapeutic phlebotomy is used for these as well:
Sickle cell disease – occurs when red blood cells (RBC) tend to break down or misshape. Therapeutic phlebotomy can help by lowering blood viscosity and reducing the concentration of affected RBCs in one area.
Polycythemia vera – a genetic mutation that causes the bone marrow to make too many RBCs, WBCs (white blood cells), and platelets or higher blood viscosity, slowing down blood flow. Therapeutic phlebotomy removes blood to reduce the risk of developing blood clots.
Porphyria – is a condition caused by the deficiency in an enzyme required to make heme (an RBC component that carries iron), causing excess porphyrin that affects the skin and nervous system. It can’t be cured, but therapeutic phlebotomy can help manage it and keep symptoms from becoming severe.
Side effects of therapeutic phlebotomy
Therapeutic phlebotomy is a generally safe medical procedure. However, it has possible side effects that patients may experience, including nausea, vomiting, bruising, dizziness, and pain in the injected area. Many of these are similar to what a person who donated blood might experience and can be lessened or avoided by eating and adequately hydrating beforehand.
Therapeutic phlebotomy is a medical procedure that can help save lives. It’s something that doctors can order for patients that need it and help manage their condition and live better lives.
Though not a medical professional, Hodge Racter knows a lot about health and medical topics, including on-demand modern laboratory services. When not writing, he spends his time with his wife and two dogs.