What is Hereditary Hemochromatosis and How do I Enroll in the Program?

  • Hereditary hemochromatosis is a genetic disease that causes people to absorb too much iron from the food they eat.
  • This extra iron accumulates in bodily organs such as the liver, heart, and pancreas.
  • Over time, people with hereditary hemochromatosis may develop liver cirrhosis, liver cancer, heart disease, diabetes, arthritis, hypothyroidism, and impotence. If iron overload is untreated, it can be fatal.

How is hereditary hemochromatosis treated?

In most cases, treatment is very simple. It consists of periodic whole blood phlebotomy to remove excess iron.

How is NYBC’s program different from receiving therapeutic phlebotomy elsewhere?

  • If the person with hemochromatosis meets all criteria applied to all blood donors, blood from phlebotomy for hereditary hemochromatosis can be used to transfuse patients.
  • No fee will be charged for the phlebotomy even if the patient does not meet the criteria. If the patient does not meet these acceptable criteria, the blood will be discarded.

How do I enroll?

  • The Hemochromatosis Phlebotomy Program Referral Form must be completed by the patient’s treating physician.
  • Once we receive it, we will contact the patient to arrange for phlebotomies.
  • Phlebotomies are performed at selected NYBC donation sites throughout the greater New York/New Jersey metropolitan area.