Polycythaemia is defined as an increase in Haemoglobin, Packed cell Volume and red cell count values. This can either be due to an increase in the red cell volume, or a decrease in plasma volume, e.g. burns or dehydration. Causes of polycythaemia include adrenal tumours, hepatocellular carcinoma, lung disease, cardiovascular shunting, renal disease and renal cell carcinomas.

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