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Blood. 2006 Mar 1;107(5):1747-50. Epub 2005 Sep 27.

The definition of anemia: what is the lower limit of normal of the blood hemoglobin concentration?

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  • 1Department of Molecular and Experimental Medicine, The Scripps Research Institute, 10550 N Torrey Pines Rd, La Jolla, CA 92037, USA.


The diagnosis of anemia is an important aspect of the practice of hematology. The first step is to decide whether the patient is, in fact, anemic. Unless earlier blood counts are available, and they often are not, the physician must make his or her decision on the basis of the population distribution of hemoglobin values. How likely is it that the patient's hemoglobin value lies below the normal distribution; that is, "the lower limit"?

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