What is Hematology?

By Dr Ananya Mandal, MD

Hematology is a branch of medicine concerning the study of blood, the blood-forming organs, and blood diseases. The word "heme" comes from the Greek for blood.

Scope of hematology

Hematology is practised by specialists in the field who deal with the diagnosis, treatment and overall management of people with blood disorders ranging from anemia to blood cancer.

Some of the diseases treated by haematologists include:

  • Iron deficiency anaemia and other types of anemia such as sickle cell anemia or trauma-related anemia
  • Polycythemia or excess production of red blood cells
  • Myelofibrosis
  • Leukemia
  • Platelet and bleeding disorders such as hemophilia, idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura and Von Willebrand disease
  • The myelodysplastic syndromes
  • Hemoglobinopathies such as thalassemia and sickle cell disease
  • Multiple myeloma
  • Malignant lymphomas
  • Blood transfusion
  • Bone marrow stem cell transplantation

Training and work

Physicians working in the field of hematology are called hematologists. Initially, hematologists complete a four-year medical degree and this is followed by three or four years in an internship or residency program. Thereafter, they spend two or three more years learning how to diagnose and treat blood disorders.

Extensive, first-hand practical experience in a recognised training centre provides hematologists with expertise in the following areas:

  • The cause of abnormalities in blood formation and other blood disorders
  • The diagnosis of various blood related disorders and cancers using laboratory tests and workups
  • The care and treatment of patients with blood diseases or hematological diseases

Reviewed by , BSc

Further Reading

Last Updated: Nov 14, 2013

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