Hematology, also spelled haematology (from the Greek αἷμα, haima “blood” and -λoγία), is the branch of medicine concerned with the study, diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of diseases related to the blood. Hematology includes the study of etiology. It involves treating diseases that affect the production of blood and its components, such as blood cells, hemoglobin, blood proteins, and the mechanism of coagulation. The laboratory work that goes into the study of blood is frequently performed by a medical technologist. Hematologists also conduct studies in oncology—the medical treatment of cancer.
Physicians specialized in hematology are known as hematologists or haematologists. Their routine work mainly includes the care and treatment of patients with hematological diseases, although some may also work at the hematology laboratory viewing blood films and bone marrow slides under the microscope, interpreting various hematological test results and blood clotting test results. In some institutions, hematologists also manage the hematology laboratory. Physicians who work in hematology laboratories, and most commonly manage them, are pathologists specialized in the diagnosis of hematological diseases, referred to as hematopathologists or haematopathologists. Hematologists and hematopathologists generally work in conjunction to formulate a diagnosis and deliver the most appropriate therapy if needed. Hematology is a distinct subspecialty of internal medicine, separate from but overlapping with the subspecialty of medical oncology. Hematologists may specialize further or have special interests, for example, in:
- treating bleeding disorders such as hemophilia and idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura
- treating hematological malignacies such as lymphoma and leukemia
- treating hemoglobinopathies
- in the science of blood transfusion and the work of a blood bank
- in bone marrow and stem cell transplantation