Polycythemia vera (PV) is a clonal disease arising from hematopoietic stem cells. Erythrocytosis is the hallmark of the disease but leukocytosis, thrombocytosis and splenomegaly may also be present. Thromboembolic complications occur in about 20% of patients. Circulatory disturbances as well as pruritus represent frequent symptoms of the disease. Mutations in the JAK2 gene are present in 95% of patients in exon 14 (V617F) and in 3% in exon 12. The main goal of the treatment for patients with PV is the prevention of thromboembolic events, transformation to myelofibrosis and acute myeloid leukemia. Interferon alpha and hydroxyurea are used as first-line treatment for high risk patients. For patients unresponsive to first-line therapy ruxolitinib is available.