Hemochromatosis Treatment by Venipuncture Through History

Applying Venipuncture in the Treatment of Hemochromatosis

  • Marija Čuljak Department of Clinical Chemistry, University Hospital Center Sestre milosrdnice, Zagreb




Hemochromatosis is a hereditary disease caused by the mutation of genes responsible for regulating iron metabolism in the body. The mutation results in elevated iron absorption from the food that is deposited and stored in various organs and tissues. Due to the excessive decomposition of iron, organs, most commonly liver, heart and pancreas, are damaged. The standard therapeutic procedure for the treatment of hereditary hemochromatosis is a venipuncture that removes excess iron in the blood. The therapeutic procedure is carried out until the iron level returns to the reference interval. Ancient bloodletting skills are still about three thousand years old. It was considered that the release of blood establishes a good balance of body fluids in the organism-euc rasia. Venipuncture was used in various diseases, and the amount of blood that was released was different, from half to two liters, and sometimes more. Venipuncture was applied not only to the treatment of existing diseases but as a prevention. The use of therapeutic venipuncture has remained to date  the gold standard for the treatment of hereditary hemochromatosis.

The aim of this paper is to present a historical review of venipuncture as a therapeutic procedure for the treatment of hemochromatosis.


Key words: therapeutic venipuncture, hemochromatosis, bloodletting