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JAMA. 1999 May 12;281(18):1714-7.

The definition of anemia in older persons.

Author information

1
Department of General Internal Medicine, Leiden University Medical Center, The Netherlands. GJ.Izaks@wxs.nl

Abstract

CONTEXT:

Whether hemoglobin concentrations defined as anemia by the World Health Organization (WHO) are associated with increased mortality in older persons is not known.

OBJECTIVE:

To investigate the association between hemoglobin concentration and cause-specific mortality in older persons.

DESIGN:

Community-based study conducted from 1986 to 1996 (follow-up period, 10 years).

SETTING:

Leiden, the Netherlands.

PARTICIPANTS:

A total of 1016 community residents aged 85 years and older were eligible and 872 agreed to have a blood sample taken. Hemoglobin concentration was measured in 755 persons (74%).

MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES:

Hemoglobin concentration, 10-year survival, and primary cause of death. According to the WHO criteria, anemia was defined as a hemoglobin concentration below 7.5 mmol/L (120 g/L) in women and below 8.1 mmol/L (130 g/L) in men.

RESULTS:

Compared with persons with a normal hemoglobin concentration, the mortality risk was 1.60 (95% confidence interval [CI], 1.24-2.06; P<.001) in women with anemia, and 2.29 (95% CI, 1.60-3.26; P<.001) in men with anemia. In both sexes, the mortality risk increased with lower hemoglobin concentrations. In persons without self-reported clinical disease at baseline, the mortality risk of anemia was 2.21 (95% CI, 1.37-3.57; P=.002). Mortality from malignant and infectious diseases was higher in persons with anemia.

CONCLUSIONS:

Anemia defined by the WHO criteria was associated with an increased mortality risk in persons aged 85 years and older. The criteria are thus appropriate for older persons. A low hemoglobin concentration at old age signifies disease.

Comment in

PMID:
10328071
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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