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Hereditary ovalocytosis


Hereditary ovalocytosis is rare condition pass down through families in which blood cells are slightly oval shaped instead of round. It is a form of hereditary elliptocytosis.

Alternative Names

Ovalocytosis - hereditary


Ovalocytosis is mainly found in Southeast Asian populations.


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 occasionally show an enlarged spleen.

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

  • CBC (complete blood count) to check for anemia
  • Blood smear
  • Bilirubin level


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

Possible Complications

The condition may be associated with kidney problems.

Jeng MR. Hematologic problems in immigrants from Southeast Asia. Hematol Oncol Clin North Am. Dec 2004; 18(6): 1405-22, x.

Laosombat V, Dissaneevate S, Wongchanchailert M, Satayasevanaa B. Neonatal anemia associated with Southeast Asian ovalocytosis. Int J Hematol. 2005 Oct;82(3):201-5.

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