Anemia frequently occurs in patients with chronic heart failure (CHF), Dr. Lexin Wang, of Charles Sturt University, Wagga Wagga, New South Wales, Australia, and colleagues write. Several studies suggest that anemia may be associated with poorer health status and increased adverse outcomes from CHF, they note. Some other studies, however, did not find anemia to have a significant impact on the prognosis of CHF, and reduced hemoglobin (Hb) levels are not independently associated with shorter survival.

A meta-analysis and systematic review of published literature was performed by the researchers in order to determine the impact of anemia on clinical outcomes of CHF. In Twenty-one studies total of 97,699 patients were included in the analysis.

The results showed an association between anemia and an increased risk for death (relative risk, 1.66; p < 0.001).

Patients with anemia had more advanced New York Heart Association class (RR, 1.35) and lower left ventricular ejection fraction when compared to non-anemic patients. The risk of mortality and risk for hospitalization was closely related to the severity of anemia.

Anemia is also more common in older patients and in patients with renal insufficiency, smaller body ass index, lower systolic bl;ood pressure, and lower plasma levels of sodium, the researchers add. The results of this study may help to screen or manage anemia in CHF patients, they conclude.