The patient with anemia

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Purpose of review

Anemia remains a global health issue. This review addresses the recent findings on anemia in surgical patients and its significance in perioperative setting.

Recent findings

The prevalence of anemia in surgical populations is high, ranging from one-third of population to nearly 100%. Anemia is an independent, modifiable risk factor for a growing list of unfavorable events, complications and diminished functional outcomes (lasting for months following discharge), as well as a major predisposing factor for allogeneic blood transfusions. Therefore, timely screening and diagnosis of anemia prior to elective surgeries is of great importance. Nonetheless, studies suggest that many opportunities to properly manage anemia in perioperative setting are lost. Patient blood management provides a framework of evidence-based strategies to effectively reduce the risk of occurrence of anemia and treat it with the ultimate goal of improving patient outcomes. Studies on the clinical impact of patient blood management strategies are emerging.


Active screening for anemia and proper management of it in perioperative setting is essential. Several strategies to prevent anemia – including elimination of unnecessary diagnostic blood draws – are effective and reasonable approaches.

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