One hundred consecutive patients with hemoglobin concentration less than 3.5 g/dL (hematocrit reading, less than 10%) were admitted to the University of Baghdad Teaching Hospital, Iraq, during a 30-month period. Twenty-eight patients had aplastic anemia, 27 had leukemia or other hemopoietic malignancies, 16 had chronic renal failure, eight had iron-deficiency anemia, eight had hemolytic anemia, seven had thalassemia major, and six had other conditions. Twenty-three patients died within seven days of admission, mostly due to the underlying disease or complications thereof. Heart failure developed in ten patients, and five had retinal exudates and hemorrhages attributed to severe anemia. Arrhythmias and ECG abnormalities were noted in 20 of 68 patients. Blood transfusion was instituted in all but three patients, whose anemia was corrected with specific therapy without blood transfusion. The tolerance of the 100 patients to such severe anemia was remarkable.
(Arch Intern Med 139:1053-1054, 1979)