Thirteen patients with Wilson's disease were compared with seven cirrhotic and 13 normal controls to define better the haematological abnormalities in this condition. Hypersplenism (anaemia, leukopenia, thrombocytopenia, and reduced red cell survival) commonly occurred in patients with both Wilson's disease and cirrhosis. These abnormalities correlated with splenic enlargement. Despite reduced haematocrits, red cell mass was greater in these two groups than in normal controls. Plasma volume and the body haematocrit/peripheral haematocrit ratios were also greater in patients with Wilson's disease and cirrhosis. Increased splenic sequestration of 51Cr-tagged red blood cells was not demonstrated in any subjects. The hypersplenism in patients with Wilson's disease is similar to that found in patients with cirrhosis from other causes.
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