(HealthDay News) — Moderate anemia after hospitalization increased from 2010 to 2014 in parallel with reduced red blood cell (RBC) transfusion, although this increase was not associated with increased subsequent RBC use, rehospitalization, or mortality within 6 months, according to a study published online in the Annals of Internal Medicine.

Nareg H. Roubinian, MD, from Kaiser Permanente Northern California in Oakland, and colleagues conducted a retrospective cohort study to describe the prevalence of anemia at and after hospital discharge and associated morbidity and mortality. Data were included for 445,371 surviving adults who had 801,261 hospitalizations between January 2010 and December 2014.

The researchers found that the prevalence of moderate anemia at hospital discharge increased from 20 to 25% from 2010 to 2014, while there was a 28% decrease in RBC transfusions (39.8 to 28.5 RBC units per 1000 patients). There was a decrease in the proportion of patients whose moderate anemia had resolved within 6 months of hospital discharge, from 42 to 34%, and decreases in RBC transfusion (from 19 to 17%) and rehospitalization (from 37 to 33%) within 6 months of hospital discharge. In patients with moderate anemia, the adjusted 6-month mortality rate decreased from 16.1 to 15.6%.

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“These data support the efficacy and safety of practice recommendations to limit RBC transfusion in patients with anemia during and after hospitalization,” the authors write.

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Roubinian NH, Murphy EL , Mark DG, et al. Long-Term Outcomes Among Patients Discharged From the Hospital With Moderate Anemia: A Retrospective Cohort Study. Ann Intern Med. DOI: 10.7326/M17-3253

Shander A, Goodnough LT. From Tolerating Anemia to Treating Anemia. Ann Intern Med. DOI:10.7326/M18-3145