How I treat Anemia in Heart Failure.

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Anemia is a very common comorbidity in patients with heart failure (HF), affecting approximately 30% of stable ambulatory patients and 50% patients with acute decompensated HF. Absolute or functional iron deficiency (ID) is seen in about 50% patients with HF. Both these comorbidities often coexist and are independently associated with increased mortality and hospitalizations. These findings led several investigators to test the hypotheses that treatment of anemia and ID in HF would improve symptoms and long-term outcomes. Small studies showed that erythropoiesis stimulating agents (ESAs) improve subjective measures of HF. However, a large pivotal outcome trial found that the ESA darbepoetin alfa did not improve long-term outcomes in patients with HF with reduced ejection fraction, and instead was associated with adverse effects. Studies using intravenous iron have had somewhat greater success, showing improvements in subjective and some objective measures of HF. However, more research is needed to establish the best treatment options for these high-risk patients. We present five common scenarios of patients with HF and anemia and describe our personal approach on how we might treat them based on objective evidence where available. An algorithm that offers guidance in regard to personalized therapy for such patients is also presented.

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