Clinical Haematology is a branch of clinical medicine which deals with diagnosis and treatment of blood disorders from conditions such as iron deficiency through to leukaemia.To put it simply, haematology is the study of blood, the organs that are involved in its formation, and the diseases associated with it. Haematology covers the diseases and treatment of all the organs and components that are responsible for the production of blood in your body. They include the blood cells (WBC and RBC), bone marrow, haemoglobin, the proteins available in blood, spleen, blood vessels, and platelets.
Haematology Department at Narayana Superspeciality Hospital Offers a wide range of services ranging from outpatient clinic, inpatient daycare facility, laboratory, blood bank under one roof. In addition, we also have advanced blood banking services with platelet aphaeresis, leukodepletion, irradiation facilities etc. - essential for high end complete haematological services.
Diseases treated under clinical Haematology are:
- Acute Leukaemia
Acute Leukaemia is a type of cancer that mainly affects white blood cells. It is caused when errors arise in bone marrow cells and hoard functionless blood cells.
- Chronic Leukaemia
Chronic Leukaemia progresses very slow as compared to the rapid proliferation of Acute Leukaemia.
- Plasma Cell disorders
Plasma cell disorders are a wide spectrum of disorders in which clones of malignant plasma cells over-produce and release into the bloodstream.
- Lymphoma – Hodgkin / Non Hodgkin
Lymphoma is a cancer of the lymphatic system. Cancer begins in the infection-fighting cells and can occur in the lymph nodes, thymus, bone marrow, spleen and other parts of the body.
- Myeloproliferative Neoplasms
Myeloproliferative Neoplasms refers to cancer caused due to the uncontrollable increase of red or white blood cells or platelets.
- Thalassemia and other haemoglobinopathies
The genetic diseases of haemoglobin cause Thalassemia and other structural haemoglobin variants.
- All types of coagulation and thrombotic disorders
Coagulation refers to the blood’s inability to form clots which can lead to bleeding diathesis. Thrombosis, on the other hand, refers to the formation of blood clots that obstruct the blood flow of the circulatory system.
- Haemoglobin and platelet disorders
Diagnosis of Haematological Diseases: What to expect?
Your primary physician can refer you to a haematologist or a haematology hospital if he/she finds you at risk of any blood-related conditions. Blood disorders have an impact on all regions of the human body. Considering this, haematologists mostly work along with other medical specialists. Depending on the symptoms and severity of the condition, the doctor can recommend one or more of these procedures for diagnosis:
1. Complete Blood Count (CBC)
This is the most commonly recommended blood test to monitor the count of haemoglobin, platelets, red and white blood cells and hematocrit. A CBC test is also recommended to help manage other diseases that can have a direct or indirect impact on one’s blood count. For instance, dengue fever can affect platelet count.
2. Bone marrow biopsy
If your primary care physician or haematologist doubts or observes reduced blood cell generation then they can recommend a bone marrow biopsy. A sample of your bone marrow is extracted to examine the condition and for further diagnosis.
3. Partial thromboplastin time (PTT)
This test is suggested if you’re having unjustified bleeding instances like nose bleeds, pink urine, heavy periods or even if you bruise too easy. The test estimates how long it takes for the blood to clot and if the reason is an underlying blood disorder.
After diagnosis, a specialist chooses from treatment and therapy options based on the type and severity of the disorder. Few of the treatments include:
- Blood transfusions
- Stell-cell or bone marrow transplant
- Ablation therapy
What do haematologists do?
Haematologists are medical doctors who have a specialization in the diagnosis and treatment of all haematologic diseases associated with the blood and related structures, such as the bone marrow. Some of the tests and procedures that a haematologist may perform are as follows:
- Complete blood cell count: A haematologist may conduct this test to diagnose anaemia, blood cancer and any inflammatory diseases. It may also be used to monitor blood loss and infection.
- Platelet count: This test is used to diagnose and monitor bleeding disorders.
- Blood enzyme tests: These tests can be of several types and can be used to diagnose cardiovascular conditions, including heart attack.
- Bone marrow biopsy: This procedure involves testing a sample tissue from the bone marrow to diagnose and monitor anaemia, thrombocytopenia (a condition in which one has low platelet count), and some cancers.
- Blood transfusions: In this process, a body is given healthy blood intravenously (through an IV).
A haematologist-oncologist is a doctor who specializes in the treatment of patients with blood cancer. As blood cancers are quite rare and need different treatment from many solid tumours, choosing a specialist in the field is essential. Moreover, they can walk you through the diagnosis, the available treatment options and therapies, as well as manage the side effects of the treatments.
Haematologists specialize in the diagnosis and treatment of disease involving the blood and its components that include the blood and bone marrow cells as well. They perform a series of tests that can help in the diagnosis of anaemia, haemophilia, infection, blood-clotting disorders, and leukemia. Besides, a haematologist focuses on providing direct patient care and managing haematologic diseases, especially cancers.
On the first visit, the haematologist will take a look at the patient’s existing records, such as – medical history, recent laboratory tests, blood test results, etc. To diagnose further, they will ask the patient to describe their symptoms and mention any unusual blood-related problems they have faced.
Finally, the haematologist will request for tests, such as complete blood count, platelet aggregation tests, bleeding time measurement, etc.
The cure rate is high for blood cancer. Through proper medication and treatment, a patient can completely recover from this disease. However, that all depends on the type of blood cancer the patient is suffering from. There are some blood cancers like myeloma and chronic lymphocytic leukemia, which are not necessarily curable, but patients can continue to live for decades with treatment.
Generally, doctors follow systemic therapy or chemotherapy for the treatment of blood cancer. The drugs involved in chemotherapy destroy cancer cells, thereby slowing the progression of the disease and leading to cancer remission. Nowadays, many new drugs have emerged that can target cancer cells according to the type of cancer. In some cases, radiation therapy for killing the cancer cells and pain relief, and bone marrow transplant may also be employed.
Haematology is a speciality in medicine that deals with the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of all types of blood disorders. The type of disorders can vary from simple to complex conditions.
A haematologist is a doctor who diagnoses and treats all blood-related disorders. Some of the disorders that haematologists treat are concerning the red and white blood cells, platelets, bone marrow, lymph nodes or spleen. Haematologists are trained to perform procedures like:
- Blood transfusions
- Bone marrow transplants
- Ablation therapy
The different types of blood disorders include;
- Acute leukaemia
- Chronic leukaemia
- Plasma cell disorders
- Haemoglobin and platelet disorders
Your general or primary care physician may refer you to a haematologist if they find that you’re at the risk of having a condition affecting your red or white blood cells, lymph nodes, blood vessels or platelets. Some of the symptoms of blood disorders to look out for are;
- Chronic infections
- Unexplained gum/nose bleeding
- Slower healing process
To examine and monitor different blood disorders, haematologists recommend doing different tests namely;
- Complete Blood Count (CBC)
- Prothrombin Time (PT)
- Partial Thromboplastin Time (PTT)
- International Normalized Ratio (INR)
- Bone Marrow Biopsy