Abstract

Preoperative anemia is associated with increased postoperative morbidity and mortality and with increased risk of perioperative transfusion. It is an important and modifiable risk factor for surgical patients. For high-blood-loss surgery, preoperative anemia is defined as hemoglobin <13 g/dL for both male and female patients. Preoperative anemia is common, ranging from 25% to 40% in large observational studies. The most common treatable cause of preoperative anemia is iron-deficiency anemia; the initial laboratory tests should focus on making this diagnosis. Management of iron-deficiency anemia includes iron supplementation with IV iron therapy when oral iron is ineffective or not tolerated, there is severe anemia, and there is insufficient time to surgery (<4 weeks). In other situations, erythropoiesis-stimulating agents may be considered, particularly for those patients with multiple alloantibodies or religious objections to transfusion. To facilitate the diagnosis and management of preoperative anemia, establishment of preoperative anemia-screening clinics is essential. The goals of management of preoperative anemia are to treat anemia, reduce the need for transfusion, and improve patient outcomes.

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