Expert Insights

Assessing Risk in PV

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Dr Shammo: I'm Jamile Shammo. I'm a hematologist at Rush University Medical Center, and I'm here today to talk to you about polycythemia vera.

When we make a diagnosis of polycythemia vera, the next step would be to characterize the risk of a specific patient and the risk pertains to risk of thrombosis. And this has been shown in prior studies that there are 2 factors that we need to consider when making this risk estimate.

One, is age, so anyone greater than 60 years of age.

The other factor is the presence of a prior thrombotic event which clearly would put this patient at risk for future thrombotic events. So, one or the other would make the patient considered as high risk for thrombosis in this disease entity.

There are other traditional risk factors that can increase patient risk for thrombosis. For example, hypertension, hypercholesterolemia, diabetes mellitus, and smoking had been considered as additional risk factors for thrombotic events. And generally speaking, we need to address and assess each one of those risk factors so that we can reduce the risk of thrombosis as much as possible in those patients.

And so, counseling the patients on leading a healthy lifestyle, perhaps controlling their lipid and sugar levels and quitting smoking is all very reasonable approach to making sure that we're optimizing here, those patients.

Image of Jamile M Shammo, MD, FASCP, FACP
Jamile M Shammo, MD, FASCP, FACP Associate Professor Rush University Medical Center | Chicago, IL
As principal investigator of clinical trials in her area of expertise, Dr Shammo is heavily involved in education, research, and administrative activities in the Division of Hematology/Oncology. She is recognized nationally for her expertise in bone marrow failure syndromes/paroxysmal nocturnal hemoglobinuria (PNH) and was chosen to serve as a national coordinator for the US PNH registry.