Anemia associated with greater risk of death in heart disease patients
May 28, 2009 - A new study appearing in Congestive Heart Failure has found that the presence of anemia in patients with chronic heart failure is associated with a significantly increased risk of death. The findings also show that anemia is associated with a poorer degree of left ventricular function and a lower left ventricular ejection fraction, an objective measure of cardiac function.
Heart failure is a common and serious chronic illness. A large number of patients with heart failure also have anemia, which is most likely a complication from poor heart function. The aim of this study was to assess the impact of anemia on the clinical outcomes of chronic heart failure (CHF) by a meta-analysis and systemic review of published literature. A total of 97,699 patients with CHF were identified from the published studies. From a collective analysis, researchers found that when anemia occurs, it worsens patient prognosis, making them more likely to be hospitalized or die from heart failure.
"Health professionals may need to improve current practices to better treat anemia in patients with chronic heart failure," says Dr. Lexin Wang, M.D., Ph.D., Head of the Cardiovascular Group at Charles Sturt University and co-author of the study.
Even with contemporary medical treatment, the mortality rate from chronic heart failure is still very high, reaching 40 percent in very sick patients. Given the clear association between anemia and the mortality rate and hospitalization rate, optimal treatment of anemia, on top of other heart-failure-specific therapies, may reduce the rate of mortality and further improve patient's prognosis.
Co-Editor's in Chief, Drs. John Strobeck and Marc Silver are feel that "this publication by Dr. Wang and collaborators give some perspective to nearly a decade of interest on the relationship and role of anemia in patients with chronic heart failure.