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Prevalence and risk factors for hospital-acquired anemia in internal medicine patients: learning from the “less is more” perspective

Intern Emerg Med. 2022 Nov 8. doi: 10.1007/s11739-022-03147-x. Online ahead of print.


Hospital-acquired anemia is defined as a new-onset anemia in hospitalized patients who have a normal hemoglobin level at admission. Its prevalence is unknown and most studies published on this topic have been conducted in intensive care unit patients with limited applicability to less acute settings, such as internal medicine wards. We conducted a retrospective study and enrolled 129 patients who were admitted to an Internal Medicine Unit between October 2021 and February 2022. The median value of phlebotomy during hospitalization was 46 ml (IQR 30-72 ml), whereas the median length of hospital stay was 9 days (IQR 5-13 days). The median value of hemoglobin reduction was -0.63 g/dl (p < 0.001) and the maximum value of drop in hemoglobin value was -2.6 g/dl. All patients who experienced a phlebotomy > 85 ml had a hemoglobin reduction > 0.6 g/dl. 20.9% of patients developed anemia during the hospital stay (7% moderate and 13.9% mild). No cases of severe anemia were observed. The volume of blood drawn during the hospital stay and the Hb value on admission were the only two variables statistically associated with the development of anemia, whereas gender, age, and chronic diseases, such as diabetes, history of cancer, or heart failure, were not. Strategies, such as elimination of unnecessary laboratory tests and the use of smaller tubes for blood collection, are needed to reduce the volume of iatrogenic blood loss and avoid blood wastage occurring during hospitalization in internal medicine patients.

PMID:36346557 | DOI:10.1007/s11739-022-03147-x

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