Classification of anaemia on the basis of ferrokinetic parameters

G. Barosi, M. Cazzola, C. Berzuini, S. Quaglini, M. Stefanelli

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Quantitative information on abnormalities of erythropoiesis and mechanisms of anaemia has been obtained in 136 anaemic patients by means of ferrokinetic studies. To derive a functional classification of anaemia based on ferrokinetic parameters, agglomerative hierarchical cluster analysis and principal coordinate analysis were utilized as techniques for unsupervised classification. Two main clusters were found and named anaemia with low potential erythropoiesis and with high potential erythropoiesis, since the most discriminant parameter between them was total erythroid iron turnover, a measure of total erythropoietic activity. A value of total erythropoiesis equal to 4 times the normal was found to discriminate these two types of anaemia in 94% of cases. Within the group with low potential erythropoiesis, three clusters showing different qualitative disturbances of erythropoiesis were singled out. Among patients with high potential erythropoiesis, two clusters were found. A value of effective erythropoiesis equal to 2.5 times the normal was shown to have a high discriminant power between these clusters. This threshold level distinguished between patients having ineffective erythropoiesis or peripheral haemolysis as the major mechanism of anaemia. The present functional classification of anaemia provides a complete picture of the different pathogenetic mechanisms and may represent the basis for a more rational diagnostic approach to erythroid disorders.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)357-370
Number of pages14
JournalBritish Journal of Haematology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1985

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Hematology


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