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Treatment of Anemia

by Alan E. Lichtin, MD

When possible, the cause of the anemia is treated. When the Hb falls dangerously low (eg, < 7 g/dL for patients without cardiopulmonary insufficiency or higher for patients with it), RBC transfusion temporarily increases O 2 -carrying capacity. RBC transfusion should be reserved for patients

  • With or at high risk of cardiopulmonary symptoms

  • With active, uncontrollable blood loss

  • With some form of hypoxic or ischemic end-organ failure (eg, neurologic ischemic symptoms, angina, tachycardia in patients with underlying heart failure or severe COPD)

For transfusion procedures and blood components, discussed in Transfusion Medicine.

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