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n. an increase in the packed cell volume (haematocrit) in the blood. This may be due either to a decrease in the total volume of the plasma (relative polycythaemia) or to an increase in the total volume of the red cells (absolute polycythaemia). The latter may occur as a primary disease (see polycythaemia vera) or as a secondary condition in association with various respiratory or circulatory disorders that cause deficiency of oxygen in the tissues and with certain tumours, such as carcinoma of the kidney.

Subjects: Medicine and Health.

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