The two recent articles reviewed herein emphasize that anemia in hospitalized patients identifies patients with greater risk of death or complications. Kurek and colleagues from Poland followed consecutive patients with acute myocardial infarction treated with percutaneous coronary intervention.1 Patients who were anemic on admission had about a 50% increase in mortality. In the second study, Reade and colleagues from Pittsburgh examined the association between anemia and outcome in consecutive patients with community-acquired pneumonia admitted to 28 university and community hospitals.2 After adjusting for baseline characteristics, anemia was associated with about a 6% increase in mortality. These studies are consistent with older published work on association of anemia and poor outcome.3

Both manuscripts make no claim that preventing or correcting anemia would improve outcome and state that trials are warranted to examine this important question.


1. Kurek T, Lenarczyk R, Kowalczyk J, et al. Effect of anemia in high-risk groups of patients with acute myocardial infarction treated with percutaneous coronary intervention. Am J Cardiol 2010;105:611-8.

2. Reade MC, Weissfeld L, Angus DC, Kellum JA, Milbrandt EB. The prevalence of anemia and its association with 90-day mortality in hospitalized community-acquired pneumonia. BMC Pulm Med 2010;10:15.

3. Wu WC, Schifftner TL, Henderson WG, et al. Preoperative hematocrit levels and postoperative outcomes in older patients undergoing noncardiac surgery. JAMA 2007;297:2481-8.

– Jeffrey L. Carson