The haematology department treats patients with disorders of the blood, bone marrow and lymph nodes. Haematologists look at the composition of the blood in the laboratory.
They examine patients and discuss their diagnosis with them during their consulting hours. Sometimes the doctors puncture the bone marrow.
There are numerous blood disorders. In the case of anaemia, there are too few red blood cells available. People suffering from it will be tired and pale. They will struggle to focus and will be less productive.
If a patient has too few white blood cells then they will become ill more often. Their body’s immune response to pathogens will be weakened. There are various causes of this. It may be a reaction to medication or blood cancer.
Doctors in the haematology department also look at blood coagulation. In the case of haemophilia, the body doesn't stop bleeding after an injury. Frequent blood clots in the veins, or thromboses, are often an indication of excessive clotting.
The haematologists are also responsible for transfusions. Medical specialists check the blood products carefully so there is absolutely no risk to the recipient when receiving blood products.
The haematology department sees patients of all ages. Children and young people are more likely to be suffering from blood cancer or a coagulation disorder. With older people, we also see anaemia or cancer of the lymphatic organs.
The haematologists’ priority is to create a friendly atmosphere for patients.
The team in the haematology clinic uses the latest techniques and treatments. They carry out phlebotomy (taking blood), blood transfusions, immunotherapy and chemotherapy, and administer infusions with medication or other vital substances.
The department also offers special consulting hours, for example for patients with haemophilia. Haemophilia patients may be looked after by the same individuals throughout their entire lives.
Other patients may have short visit to the haematology department and then go home again healthy.
What symptoms might take me to the haematology department?
The haematology department treats diseases of the blood and the blood-forming organs. It also deals with disorders of the lymphatic system.
The symptoms patients present with are extremely varied and depend on which organ or blood cells are affected.
Possible symptoms include:
- Skin pallor
- Diminished performance
- Difficulty concentrating
- Increased tendency to bleed
- Frequent infections
- Bone pain
- Enlarged spleen
- Enlarged liver
- Swollen lymph nodes
- Loss of appetite
If you are suffering from one of these symptoms, it may not be due to something serious. These symptoms can be caused by a variety of illnesses. You should visit your family doctor first for an initial consultation. If necessary, he will refer you to the haematology department.
What examinations will be carried out in the haematology department?
In the haematology department, the doctor talks to the patient. They ask about the reason for their visit and their symptoms.
During the physical examination, they check for swollen lymph nodes, an enlarged liver or an enlarged spleen. They examine the patient’s skin and look for rashes or bruises.
In the haematology department the analysis of the blood is extremely important. Blood will need to be taken at nearly every visit.
Sometimes further consultations are required. The medical specialists take cells from the bone marrow or the lymph nodes. They remove these using a fine needle and analyse them in the laboratory.
What are the signs of blood cancer?
With blood cancer (leukaemia), cancer cells multiply in the bone marrow, displacing the normal blood cells. In the haematology department, the doctor can identify the cancer cells by analysing the blood.
Patients with blood cancer may have very unspecific symptoms that also occur with lots of other illnesses. The patients will be pale, tired and also listless. Bleeding gums is a sign of leukaemia and so are bruises on the skin.
In the case of acute leukaemia, the symptoms occur within a few days and are very pronounced. Where the disease takes a chronic course, the patients may not notice anything or may only notice a slight deterioration.
What is a coagulation disorder?
In the haematology department specialists investigate blood coagulation. Coagulation is the process by which the body stops bleeding following an injury.
During this process, blood cells and coagulation factors stick together creating a blood clot. This clot seals the injured vessels and the body stops bleeding.
In the case of a coagulation disorder, this process doesn’t work properly.
If there is excessive clotting then blood clots form within an undamaged vessel. For example, the patient may experience thrombosis in their leg veins.
If there is not enough coagulation then there is considerable risk of bleeding. This is the case with haemophilia.
What are the signs of an iron deficiency and what can I do to combat this?
In the case of an iron deficiency, the bone marrow does not produce enough red blood cells. Red blood cells are important for transporting oxygen.
If there is not enough of them, the patient will be tired, pale and listless. An iron deficiency causes brittle fingernails and hair. You may have cracks in the corners of your mouth (angular cheilitis) and you may have a slight loss of taste in your tongue.
The analysis of the blood in the haematology department will reveal the extent of the iron deficiency.
Normally we absorb iron with our food. If this is not sufficient, the doctor may administer iron in tablet form or through a drip. They will also identify the cause of the increased need for iron and treat possible disorders.