BACKGROUND: To study etiologies of anemia using an extensive laboratory analysis in general practices. METHOD: An extensive laboratory analysis was performed in blood of newly diagnosed anemia patients aged ≥50 years from the general population in the city of Dordrecht area, the Netherlands. Eight laboratory-orientated etiologies of anemia were defined. Patients were assigned one or more of these etiologies on the basis of their test results. RESULTS: Blood of 4152 patients (median age 75 years; 49% male) was analyzed. The anemia etiology was unclear in 20%; a single etiology was established in 59%; and multiple etiologies in 22% of the patients. The most common etiologies were anemia of chronic disease (ACD) (54.5%), iron deficiency anemia (IDA) (19.1%) and renal anemia (13.8%). The most common single etiologies were IDA (82%) and ACD (68%), while the multiple etiologies most commonly included folic acid deficiency (94%) and suspected bone marrow disease (88%). Older age was associated with a lower incidence of IDA and a higher incidence of renal anemia. Mild anemia was more often associated with ACD and uncertain anemia, while severe anemia was mainly seen in patients with IDA. CONCLUSION: Extensive laboratory analysis in anemic patients from the general population helped clarify the etiology of anemia and revealed many various combinations of etiologies in a significant proportion of patients. Age, sex and the severity of anemia are predictive of the underlying etiology.

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BMC family practice

Schop, A. (A.), Stouten, K., Riedl, J., Van Houten, R. J., Leening, M.J.G. (M. J.G.), van Rosmalen, J., … Levin, M.-D. (2020). A new diagnostic work-up for defining anemia etiologies: a cohort study in patients ≥ 50 years in general practices. BMC family practice, 21(1). doi:10.1186/s12875-020-01241-7