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Hereditary ovalocytosis

Hereditary ovalocytosis is a rare condition passed down through families (inherited). The blood cells are oval-shaped instead of round. It is a form of hereditary elliptocytosis.

Causes

Ovalocytosis is mainly found in Southeast Asian populations.

Symptoms

Newborn infants with ovalocytosis may have anemia and jaundice. Adults most often do not show symptoms.

Exams and Tests

An exam by your health care provider may show an enlarged spleen.

This condition is diagnosed by looking at the shape of blood cells under a microscope. The following tests may also be done:

  • Complete blood count (CBC) to check for anemia or red blood cell destruction
  • Blood smear to determine cell shape
  • Bilirubin level (may be high)
  • Lactate dehydrogenase level (may be high)
  • Ultrasound of the abdomen (may show gallstones)

Treatment

In severe cases, the disease may be treated by removal of the spleen (splenectomy).

Possible Complications

The condition may be associated with gallstones or kidney problems.

Alternative Names

Ovalocytosis - hereditary

References

Gallagher PG. Hemolytic anemias. In: Goldman L, Schafer AI, eds. Goldman's Cecil Medicine. 25th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2016:chap 161.

Segel GB. Hereditary elliptocyctosis. In: Kliegman RM, Stanton BF, St Geme JW, Schor NF, eds. Nelson Textbook of Pediatrics. 20th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2016:chap 459.

Update Date 2/1/2016

Updated by: Todd Gersten, MD, Hematology/Oncology, Florida Cancer Specialists & Research Institute, Wellington, FL. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Isla Ogilvie, PhD, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.

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