The value of the physical examination in the diagnosis of anemia. Correlation of the physical findings and the hemoglobin concentration

Arch Intern Med. 1988 Apr;148(4):831-2.


Certain clinical findings, such as pallor of the conjunctivae, nail beds, lips, oral mucosa, and palmar creases have traditionally been used by physicians in the diagnosis of anemia. We prospectively examined 50 patients to determine whether there was any correlation between these clinical findings and hemoglobin concentration. We noted a statistically significant correlation between hemoglobin concentration and the following: color tint of the lower eyelid conjunctiva, nail-bed rubor, nail-bed blanching, and palmar crease rubor. Results from our study support the contention that the presence and degree of anemia can be estimated clinically by careful physical examination.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Anemia / diagnosis*
  • Color
  • Conjunctiva / blood supply
  • Conjunctiva / pathology
  • Hemoglobins / analysis*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Nails / pathology
  • Physical Examination*
  • Prospective Studies


  • Hemoglobins