Health Information

Hereditary ovalocytosis

Hereditary ovalocytosis


Ovalocytosis - hereditary

Hereditary ovalocytosis is a rare condition passed down through families (inherited). The blood cells are oval-shaped instead of round. It is a form of hereditary elliptocytosis.

I Would Like to Learn About:

  • Causes

    Ovalocytosis is mainly found in Southeast Asian populations.

  • Symptoms

    Newborn infants with ovalocytosis may have anemia and jaundice. Adults usually do not show symptoms and are known as asymptomatic.

  • Exams and Tests

    An examination by your health care provider may show an enlarged spleen.

    This condition is diagnosed by looking at the shape of blood cells under a microscope. The following tests may also be done:

    • Complete blood count (CBC) to check for anemia or red blood cell destruction
    • Blood smear to determine cell shape
    • Bilirubin level (may be high)
    • Lactate dehydrogenase level (may be high)
    • Ultrasound of the abdomen (may show gallstones)
  • Treatment

    In severe cases, the disease may be treated by removal of the spleen (splenectomy).

  • Possible Complications

    The condition may be associated with gallstones or kidney problems.

Related Information

  Hereditary ellipto...Hemolytic anemia...Spleen removal    


Golan DE. Hemolytic anemias: red cell membrane and metabolic defects. In: Goldman L,Ausiello D, eds. Goldman's Cecil Medicine. 23rd ed. Philadelphia, PA: Saunders Elsevier; 2007:chap 165.


Review Date: 2/24/2014  

Reviewed By: Todd Gersten, MD, Hematology/Oncology, Florida Cancer Specialists & Research Institute, Wellington, FL. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Isla Ogilvie, PhD, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.

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