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Alternative Names Return to topElliptocytosis - hereditary
Definition Return to top
Hereditary elliptocytosis is a disorder passed down through families in which the red blood cells are oval-shaped.
See also: Hereditary spherocytosis
Causes Return to top
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 Return to top
Exams and Tests Return to top
An examination by your health care provider may occasionally show an enlarged spleen.
The following tests may help diagnose the condition:
Treatment Return to top
There is no treatment needed for the disorder unless red blood cells rupture. Surgery to remove the spleen may decrease red blood cell rupture.
Outlook (Prognosis) Return to top
Most persons with hereditary elliptocytosis have no problems, and are unaware of their condition.
Possible Complications Return to top
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.
When to Contact a Medical Professional Return to top
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 Return to top
Genetic counseling may be appropriate for persons with a family history of this disease who wish to become parents.
References Return to top
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.Update Date: 11/8/2008 Updated 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.