Hematologic emergencies

Main Article Content

Daniele Vallisa *
Carlo F. Moroni
(*) Corresponding Author:
Daniele Vallisa | d.vallisa@ausl.pc.it

Abstract

In recent years, the surprising progress made in other areas of hematology (advances in the understanding of leukemogenesis, improved transplant techniques) has been conspicuously absent in the management of hematologic emergencies. And yet, every step toward greater knowledge, every new treatment option will be of little value unless we are able to manage the acute complications of hematologic diseases. These complications are better defined as hematologic emergencies, and they are characterized by a high rate of mortality. This review is based on a search of the literature that was initially confined to articles published in the journal Hematology from 2000 to 2009. The search was then extended to the Cochrane Library and to Pub Med in February 2010 with the following Keywords emergencies; urgencies; hematology. The same key words were employed in a search of the archives of Blood and the New England Journal of Medicine from 2000 to 2010. The results confirm that hematologic emergencies can be caused by hematologic malignancies as well as by non-neoplastic hematologic diseases. Within the former category; this review examines the causes; manifestations; treatment and prevention of disseminated intravascular coagulation; superior vena caval syndrome; spinal cord compression; tumor lysis syndrome; hyperleukocytosis; and hypercalcemia. We also review emergency situations associated with non-neoplatic haematological diseases; such as thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura; drug-induced hemolytic anemia; and acute sickle-cell crisis.

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