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Comput Biol Med. 2013 Feb;43(2):84-90. doi: 10.1016/j.compbiomed.2012.11.008. Epub 2012 Dec 8.

Simulation of repetitive diagnostic blood loss and onset of iatrogenic anemia in critical care patients with a mathematical model.

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Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, Saskatoon Health Region, Saskatoon, SK, Canada S7M 0Z9.


Anemia is prevalent among critical care patients and is attributed to pathologic and iatrogenic processes and bleeding. The extent that diagnostic blood loss contributes to anemia among adult critical care patients is controversial and multi-factorial. The aim of this study is to describe an erythrokinetic model that integrates rates of phlebotomy, erythropoiesis and red cell senescence with patient characteristics to predict the onset of iatrogenic anemia in an objective manner. Using sex-specific parameters, the model predicts that adults with (average body weight and average blood volume), initial hemoglobin concentration at mid-reference interval, active erythropoiesis and losing 53 mL of blood per day by phlebotomy would require 40-70 days to reach 70 g/L of hemoglobin. To mimic critical care patients with low initial hemoglobin and suppressed erythropoiesis, the influence of daily blood loss and total blood volume was predicted. Simultaneous lack of erythropoiesis, initial hemoglobin concentrations at the lower limit of the reference interval (110 g/L), low body weight and increased phlebotomy accelerated onset of ~70 g/L hemoglobin transfusion threshold to 9-14 days. This computer simulation depicts the extent that adult critical care patients with anemia risk factors could benefit from conservative test ordering practices and subsequent reduced diagnostic phlebotomy.

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