Anemia in elderly hospitalized patients: prevalence and clinical impact

Margherita Migone De Amicis, Erika Poggiali, Irene Motta, Francesca Minonzio, Giovanna Fabio, Cinzia Hu, Maria Domenica Cappellini

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Anemia is a common finding in elderly individuals. Several studies haveshown a strong relationship between anemia, morbidity and mortality, suggestinganemia as a significant independent predictor of adverse outcome in elderlyhospitalized patients. The pathophisiology of anemia in the elderly is not yet completelyunderstood. Several mechanisms are involved. Weinvestigated the prevalence of anemia in a cohort of 193 elderly patients admitted tothe Internal Medicine Ward of Ca'Granda Policlinico Hospital along 6 months, and itsrelationship to comorbidities and to the length of hospitalization. Anemia was classifiedaccording to the WHO criteria. The majority of patients (48 %) had a mildmoderate,normocytic anemia; severe anemia was found in 8 out of 92 anemicpatients. In a subgroup of patients erythropoietin was tested and resulted statisticallyhigher if compared to non-anemic controls (p = 0.003). Considering the most commoncause of anemia, nutritional deficiency, chronic renal disease and anemia of chronicdisease were found respectively in 36, 15 and 25 % of cases. Unexplained anemiawas diagnosed in 24 % of patients, according to the literature. Anemia wasindependently associated with increased length of hospital stay. Our studyconfirmed a high prevalence of anemia in elderly patients, and its association with ahigher number of comorbidities and a longer stay. A correct clinical approach toanemia in elderly hospitalized patients is essential, considering its negative impact onpatients' quality of life, and its social burden in term of healthcare needs and costs.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)581-586
Number of pages6
JournalInternal and Emergency Medicine
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Aug 25 2015


  • Anemia
  • Elderly
  • Hemoglobin
  • Hospitalization
  • Morbidity
  • Mortality

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Emergency Medicine
  • Internal Medicine

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