The prevalence of anemia in chronic heart failure

Int J Cardiol. 2002 Nov;86(1):115-21. doi: 10.1016/s0167-5273(02)00273-5.


Objectives: To assess prevalence of anemia and its correlation with NYHA-class in patients with congestive heart failure.

Background: Recently, it was reported that anemia in congestive heart failure patients is common and correlated with the severity of disease. In these patients with anemia, treatment with erythropoietin and intravenous iron improved cardiac function significantly.

Methods: 193 patients from a tertiary heart failure outpatient clinic (mean age 54 years) were included in a retrospective analysis. Fourteen patients were in NYHA-class I, 69 class II, 79 class III, and 31 class IV. All patients had clinical and laboratory evaluation, echocardiography and coronary angiography. Patients with secondary anemia or on hemodialysis were excluded. Etiology of heart failure was ischemic in 41%.

Results: Anemia (hemoglobin<120 g/l) was present in 28 of 193 patients (15%). There was an inverse relationship between NYHA-class and left ventricular ejection fraction (NYHA-class I 45%, class II 32%, class III 25%, class IV 25%). Serum creatinine increased with NYHA-class. Hemoglobin levels were similar in all four NYHA-classes but there were significantly more patients with anemia in NYHA-class III and IV (19%) compared with class I and II (8%, P<0.05). Hemoglobin was similar in surviving patients (mean 140 g/l) and those who died or were transplanted (mean 136 g/l, ns).

Conclusions: The prevalence of anemia in our heart failure service is 15% (compared with 56% in the literature) and is correlated to NYHA-class.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Anemia / epidemiology*
  • Comorbidity
  • Female
  • Heart Failure / epidemiology*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prevalence
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Stroke Volume
  • Ventricular Function, Left