Hematologic Effects of Alcohol

  • John Lindenbaum


A bewildering variety of hematologic syndromes has been described in chronic alcoholics. In the past they have often been attributed to acute and chronic liver disease, malnutrition, or chronic infection; more recently it has been recognized that alcohol ingestion itself may have hematologic consequences, either in the presence or absence of associated nutritional deficiency states. The hematologic manifestations have been typically transient, usually presenting at the time of admission to the hospital or developing within a few days, with a subsequent return to normal with or without specific therapy. Often multiple hematologic syndromes occur simultaneously in a single patient. The cause of a number of the hematologic changes is still obscure, but in several instances reproduction of the syndromes by experimental ethanol administration to human volunteers has allowed better definition of their pathogenesis. In this chapter several hematologic abnormalities which have been definitely shown to be induced by alcohol ingestion are discussed in detail and brief consideration will be given to others in which ethanol has not yet been implicated with certainty. Our current understanding, as of January 1972, the time of writing of this review, of alcohol-related abnormalities of red blood cells, platelets, and granulocytes will be presented in that order.


Serum Iron Alcohol Withdrawal Folate Deficiency Alcoholic Patient Megaloblastic Anemia 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1974

Authors and Affiliations

  • John Lindenbaum
    • 1
  1. 1.Medical Service, Harlem Hospital Center College of Physicians and SurgeonsColumbia University New YorkNew YorkUSA

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