Learning Center Articles

Anemia

Anemia

  • A deficiency in
    • Number of erythrocytes (RBCs)
    • Quantity of hemoglobin
    • Volume of packed RBCs (hematocrit)
  • RBC function
    • Transport oxygen (O2) from lungs to systemic tissues
    • Carry carbon dioxide from tissues to lungs
  • Not a specific disease
  • Manifestation of a pathologic process
  • Diagnosed based on
    • Complete blood count (CBC)
    • Reticulocyte count
    • Peripheral blood smear

Cause of anemia

  • Decreased RBC production
    • Deficient nutrients
      • Iron
      • Cobalamin
      • Folic acid
    • Decreased erythropoietin
    • Decreased iron availability
  • Blood loss
    • Chronic
      • Bleeding duodenal ulcer
      • Colorectal cancer
      • Liver disease
    • Acute
      • Acute trauma
      • Ruptured aortic aneurysm
      • GI bleeding
  • Increased RBC destruction
    • Hemolysis
      • Abnormal hemoglobin (Sickle cell disease)
      • Medication (e.g., methyldopa [Aldomet]) and chemicals (e.g., chemotherapy, lead)
      • Incompatible blood
        • Antibodies against RBCs
      • Physical destruction
        • Prosthetic heart valves
        • Extracorporeal circulation
        • Disseminated intravascular coagulopathy (DIC)
        • Thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura (TTP)
      • Trauma (e.g., cardiopulmonary bypass)
      • Infectious agents (e.g., malaria) and toxins
      • Radiation