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Treatment of Anemia

By

Evan M. Braunstein

, MD, PhD, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine

Last full review/revision Sep 2020| Content last modified Sep 2020
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If identified, the cause of the anemia Etiology of Anemia Anemia is a decrease in the number of red blood cells (RBCs), which leads to a decrease in hematocrit and hemoglobin content. (See also Red Blood Cell Production.) The RBC mass represents the... read more is treated. When the hemoglobin (Hb) falls dangerously low (eg, < 7 g/dL [< 70 g/L] for patients without cardiopulmonary insufficiency or higher for patients with it), red blood cell (RBC) transfusion temporarily increases oxygen-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 chronic obstructive pulmonary disease)

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