Harvard Heart Letter

Can a hospital stay make you anemic?

Frequent blood testing after a heart attack can deplete red blood cells.

Anemia — having too few oxygen-carrying red blood cells in circulation — is a blood problem that plagues millions of people. Among anemia's many possible causes are diets poor in iron or folic acid, kidney disease, internal bleeding, and cancer.

Now, add a hospital stay to that list. Three reports highlight just how common it is to develop anemia during a hospital stay after a heart attack and anemia's harmful effects on health and survival. One culprit: having too much blood removed for tests.

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