Encyclopedia of Heart Diseases

2011 Edition
| Editors: M. Gabriel Khan

Anemia and the Heart

Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-60761-219-3_9


The heart and the circulating system through arteries, veins, and capillaries must accomplish two goals:
  1. 1.

    Delivery of oxygen and nutrients to organs and the peripheral tissues

  2. 2.

    Removal of metabolic waste products that accumulate throughout the body


Oxygen is carried by hemoglobin in the red blood cells to the tissues. The normal level of hemoglobin in circulating blood is 12–15.5 g/dL (120–155 g/L) in women and 15–17 g/dL (150–170 g/L) in men.

A normal structural heart with normal function usually can tolerate a hemoglobin level of 7 g/dL (70 g/L) for approximately 1 year without causing cardiac damage or  heart failure. Hemoglobin level of 6 g/dL (60 g/L) or less may cause  cardiac dysfunction after approximately 6 months. In patients with  angina and hemoglobin <10 g/dL (100 g/L), chest pain may be precipitated because lack of oxygen to the  myocardium produces myocardial  ischemia that causes pain ( Heart Failure,  Angina).

Patients with sickle cell anemia commonly...
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Suggested Reading

  1. Dec GW (2009) Anemia and iron deficiency – new therapeutic targets in heart failure? N Engl J Med 361:2475–2477PubMedGoogle Scholar
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  3. Lipsic E, van der Meer P (2010) Erythropoietin, iron, or both in heart failure: FAIR-HF in perspective. Eur J Heart Fail 12(2):104–105PubMedGoogle Scholar
  4. Mix TC, Brenner RM, Cooper ME et al (2005) Rationale – Trial to Reduce Cardiovascular Events with Aranesp Therapy (TREAT): evolving the management of cardiovascular risk in patients with chronic kidney disease. Am Heart J 149:408–413PubMedGoogle Scholar
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  6. van Veldhuisen DJ, McMurray JJ (2007) Are erythropoietin stimulating proteins safe and efficacious in heart failure? Why we need an adequately powered randomised outcome trial. Eur J Heart Fail 9:110–112PubMedGoogle Scholar

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© Springer Science+Business Media LLC 2011