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Age Ageing. 2012 Jul;41(4):501-6. doi: 10.1093/ageing/afs031. Epub 2012 Mar 14.

No increased mortality risk in older persons with unexplained anaemia.

Author information

1
Gerontology and Geriatrics, LUMC, Leiden, The Netherlands. j.m.willems@lumc.nl

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

in older persons, anaemia is associated with a number of unfavourable outcomes. In approximately 30% of older persons with anaemia, the cause of the anaemia is unexplained. We assessed the clinical differences between subjects with explained and unexplained anaemia and investigated whether these subjects have different mortality patterns compared with subjects without anaemia.

DESIGN:

observational prospective follow-up study.

SETTING:

the Leiden 85-plus study.

PARTICIPANTS:

four hundred and ninety-one persons aged 86 years.

METHODS:

the study population was divided in three groups: (i) no anaemia (reference group, n=377), (ii) explained anaemia (iron deficiency, folate deficiency, vitamin B12 deficiency, signs of myelodysplastic syndrome or renal failure, n=74) and (iii) unexplained anaemia, (n=40). Mortality risks were estimated with Cox-proportional hazard models.

RESULTS:

haemoglobin levels were significantly lower in subjects with explained anaemia than in subjects with unexplained anaemia (P<0.01). An increased risk for mortality was observed in subjects with explained anaemia [HR: 1.93 (95% CI: 1.47-2.52), P<0.001], but not in subjects with unexplained anaemia [HR: 1.19 (95% CI: 0.85-1.69), P=0.31]. Adjusted analyses (sex, co-morbidity, MMSE, institutionalised and smoking) did not change the observed associations for both explained and unexplained anaemic subjects.

CONCLUSION:

older subjects with unexplained anaemia had similar survival compared with non-anaemic subjects. Increased mortality risks were observed in subjects with explained anaemia compared with non-anaemic subjects.

PMID:
22417980
DOI:
10.1093/ageing/afs031
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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