Red blood cells are an important part of your baby's blood. They carry oxygen to every part of the body. But some babies are born with too many red blood cells. This is called polycythemia (say "paw-lee-sy-THEE-mee-uh").
Hyperviscosity (say "hy-per-vis-COSS-uh-tee") is a thickening of the blood. In newborns, it's usually caused by having too many red blood cells. Polycythemia and hyperviscosity often happen together.
If your baby's blood is thicker than normal, it's hard for the blood to flow through the blood vessels. Tissues in the body can be damaged if the oxygen in the blood can't reach them. Thicker blood may also raise your baby's risk for blood clots and may lead to heart and lung problems.
Your baby may need special care, such as being in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU). This may be scary for you. But the hospital staff understands this. They will explain what happens and will answer your questions.
To treat your baby, the doctor may:
If your baby is treated in the NICU, here is what you can expect:
Go to https://www.healthwise.net/patientEd
Enter I598 in the search box to learn more about "Learning About Polycythemia and Hyperviscosity in Newborns".
Current as of: July 26, 2016
Thomas M. Bailey, MD - Family Medicine
© 2006-2017 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.
Care instructions adapted under license by your healthcare professional. If you have questions about a medical condition or this instruction, always ask your healthcare professional. Healthwise, Incorporated disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information.