Phlebotomy is a procedure that removes blood from the body. Regular
phlebotomy treatment is used to treat conditions such as hemochromatosis, in
which a person has too much iron in his or her blood, or polycythemia, in which
a person is producing too many red blood cells.
Removing blood regularly decreases iron levels in the body by
reducing the number of iron-rich red blood cells. Phlebotomy is safe when done
by a health professional in appropriate situations. The process is similar to
donating blood. A health professional inserts a needle into an arm vein and
removes about 500 mL (17 fl oz) of blood.
Removal of excess iron can significantly reduce the possibility of
severe and even life-threatening damage to the liver and other organs.
October 15, 2012
Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine & Brian Leber, MDCM, FRCPC - Hematology
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