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The page below is a sample from the LabCE course Hereditary Hemochromatosis. Access the complete course and earn ASCLS P.A.C.E.-approved continuing education credits by subscribing online.

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Quantitative Phlebotomy

An alternative to liver biopsy, CT, or MRI as a means of documenting iron overload may be provided by quantitative phlebotomy performed during treatment. The removal of 4 to 5 grams of iron through documented successive phlebotomies (16 to 20 phleblotomies) without development of anemia is indicative of iron overload. (One unit, or 450 mL, of blood is assumed to contain approximately 200 to 250 mg of iron).
Quantitative phlebotomy is useful in patients for whom liver biopsy is contraindicated or patients who refuse the procedure. Quantitative phlebotomy also is typically less costly.