Anemia as a risk factor and therapeutic target in heart failure

J Am Coll Cardiol. 2004 Sep 1;44(5):959-66. doi: 10.1016/j.jacc.2004.05.070.


Anemia has recently been recognized as an important comorbid condition and potentially novel therapeutic target in patients with heart failure (HF). Anemia is common in HF patients, with a prevalence ranging from 4% to 55% depending on the population studied. Multiple potential mechanisms of interaction exist between anemia and the clinical syndrome of HF, including hemodilution, inflammatory activation, renal insufficiency, and malnutrition. A growing body of literature from observational databases and clinical trials suggests that anemia is an independent risk factor for adverse outcomes in patients with HF. Although preliminary data suggest that treatment of anemia may result in significant symptomatic improvement in HF, aggressive treatment of anemia may also be associated with increased risk of hypertension or thrombosis. Multiple ongoing studies will provide definitive data on the balance of risks and benefits of anemia treatment in chronic HF.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Anemia / epidemiology*
  • Anemia / physiopathology
  • Anemia / therapy
  • Comorbidity
  • Erythropoietin / pharmacology
  • Erythropoietin / therapeutic use
  • Heart / drug effects
  • Heart Failure / epidemiology*
  • Heart Failure / physiopathology
  • Hematocrit
  • Humans
  • Kidney Failure, Chronic / epidemiology
  • Kidney Failure, Chronic / therapy
  • Recombinant Proteins
  • Renal Dialysis
  • Risk Factors


  • Recombinant Proteins
  • Erythropoietin