oa South African Family Practice - Retrospective analysis of the prevalence and causes of anaemia in hospitalised elderly patients : research
Introduction : Anaemia is common in the elderly. Little is known regarding anaemia in hospitalised elderly patients in South Africa. A retrospective study determined the prevalence and causes of anaemia in elderly patients hospitalised for acute medical problems.
Methods : Patients with anaemia were identified from the computerised database of a geriatric unit. Laboratory tests and clinical information on these patients were reviewed to determine the cause of the anaemia defined according to the WHO criteria (haemoglobin level ≤ 12 g/l for women and ≤ 13 g/l men).
Results : Of 759 consecutive geriatric patients, 236 (31.1%) were anaemic. The majority (n = 150; 63.6%) were female, with a mean age of 82.2 years. The male patients had a mean age of 80.8 years. The mean haemoglobin values were 10.7 g/l and 10.2 g/l for male and female patients, respectively. In 96 (40 7%) patients, the cause of anaemia could not be determined. Of the remaining 140 patients, 25.7% had anaemia of chronic disorders, 24.3% had iron deficiency anaemia and 13.6% had multiple causes.
Conclusion : Approximately one-third of hospitalised elderly patients were anaemic on admission, although many were not adequately investigated. Chronic disorders and iron deficiency were the most common causes of anaemia.
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