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Anemia prevalence in a home visit geriatric population.

OBJECTIVES: Ascertain anemia prevalence in the home visit geriatric population.

DESIGN: Retrospective chart review.

SETTING: A geriatric home visit program of a community-based teaching hospital.

PARTICIPANTS: Non-institutionalized elderly patients referred to the geriatric home visit program from March 1, 2003, through October 1, 2006.

MEASUREMENTS: Demographic, diagnostic, and hemoglobin data were abstracted. Anemia was defined using the WHO criteria of hemoglobin (Hb) less than 13 g/dL in men and less than 12 g/dL in women.

RESULTS: The cohort consisted of 244 patients, predominantly white (88%), women (77%), and with a median age of 85 years. Anemia prevalence was 39.6% (95% CI: 32.6-46.9): 44.7% (95% CI: 30.2-59.9) in the men and 37.9% (95% CI: 30.0-46.4%) in the women. There was no statistically significant difference in anemia prevalence by race, known diagnosis of dementia, or by any other comorbidity. Majorities (86.8%) of the anemias were normocytic, 10.5% were microcytic, and 2.6% had macrocytosis. About 36.4% had nutrient deficiencies, 13.6% had anemia of chronic disease, 9.1% had myelodysplastic syndrome, and the etiology remained unknown for 40.9%.

CONCLUSION: Anemia prevalence in the homebound geriatric population is high, about 4 times the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES III) estimate for the free-living, community-dwelling elderly. It mirrors the high prevalence in the nursing home population.

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