Reduced blood hemoglobin levels may impair oxygen delivery to the brain and hinder neurological improvement. We prospectively registered consecutively hospitalized Chinese patients with acute ischemic stroke within 24 hours of symptom onset to investigate whether anemia on admission influences case fatality and functional outcome of acute ischemic stroke at 12 months. Anemia was defined as a blood hemoglobin level of < 120 g/L for women, and < 130 g/L for men. We also performed a meta-analysis of the current cohort and previously published studies. We included 1176 patients, of whom 351 patients (29.8%) had anemia. Age (odds ratio [OR]=1.02, 95% confidence interval [CI]: 1.01-1.03), history of hemorrhagic stroke (OR=3.34, 95% CI: 1.17-9.56), alcohol consumption (OR=0.59, 95% CI: 0.38-0.92), and estimated glomerular filtration rate < 60 mL/minute per 1.73 m(2) (OR=1.34, 95% CI: 1.00-1.80) were the independent predictors of anemia. After adjustment for potential confounders, anemia on admission was shown to be an independent predictor of death at discharge and at 12 months (OR=1.66, 95% CI, 1.08-2.56; OR=1.56, 95% CI, 1.05-2.31). A meta-analysis of six included studies involving 3810 participants confirmed that anemia on admission was an independent predictor of death at the end of follow-up (OR=1.67, 95% CI, 1.25-2.08). Further studies are required to confirm these findings.
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