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Pautas E.,Groupe Hospitalier Pitie Salpetriere Charles Foix APHP | Pautas E.,University Pierre and Marie Curie | Pautas E.,University of Paris Descartes | Siguret V.,University of Paris Descartes | And 7 more authors.
Annales de Biologie Clinique | Year: 2012

Anemia, the most common hematological disorder in the elderly, increases the risk of mortality and morbidity and adversely affects quality of life. However, few studies focused specifically on anemia in the elderly, especially regarding the underlying causes. The main objective of this prospective study was to evaluate the causes of anemia in non-institutionalized elderly patients. We included 190 consecutive patients ≥70 years, admitted to a geriatric shortstay unit over a 1-year period. When the hemoglobin level was <120 g/L, the following serum assays were performed routinely: iron, ferritin, transferrin saturation, folate, vitamin B12, C-reactive protein, TSH, albumin, and haptoglobin. When these tests were normal, bone marrow aspiration was performed to look for myelodysplastic syndrome. Hemoglobin was <120 g/L in 83 (43.7%) of 190 included patients. Patients with anemia had a mean hemoglobin level of 105±11 g/L. The most common potential causes of anemia were inflammation, severe renal impairment, severe malnutrition, and iron deficiency; each of these causes was found in at least one-third of patients with anemia. Myelodysplastic syndrome was found in all anemic patients with a normal serum screen (12/83, 14.5%). Anemia was multifactorial in most patients: the mean number of potential causes per patient was 1.85±1, and 65.4% of the patients had two to four concomitant causes. The serum screen used in our study is easy to perform in ambulatory patients and identifies potential causes of anemia for which safe and effective treatments are available. Second-line bone marrow aspiration adds to the diagnostic yield.

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