Anemia in chronic heart failure: Can we treat? What to treat?
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Even though anemia is a significant comorbidity regularly observed in patients with chronic heart failure (HF), only in recent years systematic therapeutic research has been started. This article aims to review the aspects of anemia in chronic HF that are relevant for making treatment decisions, beginning with the definition of anemia and its incidence and prevalence of anemia in patients with chronic HF. Considering the etiology and prognostic impact of anemia in chronic HF, several treatment options will be considered. The latter are the application of erythropoiesis-stimulating agents (erythropoietin or darbepoetin alfa) or in the application of intravenous iron (e.g., iron carboxymaltose). According to the results seen in the FAIR-HF trial, iron supplementation should be particularly considered to improve symptoms and quality of life. Intravenous iron application may result in higher compliance and much faster treatment response than oral iron. The RED-HF study will show whether use of darbepoetin alfa in anemic patients with chronic HF will reduce the combined endpoint of death for any reason or hospitalization for heart failure.