Scientists at Charles Sturt University in Australia have found that the presence of anemia in patients with chronic heart failure is associated with a significantly increased risk of death.
The researchers say that their findings also show that anemia is associated with a poorer degree of left ventricular function and a lower left ventricular ejection fraction, an objective measure of cardiac function.
They revealed that they undertook this study to assess the impact of anemia on the clinical outcomes of chronic heart failure (CHF) by a meta-analysis and systemic review of published literature.
The researchers identified 97,699 patients with CHF from the published studies.
Conducting a collective analysis, the researchers found that when anemia occurs, it worsens patient prognosis, making them more likely to be hospitalised or die from heart failure.
"Health professionals may need to improve current practices to better treat anemia in patients with chronic heart failure," says Dr. Lexin Wang, Head of the Cardiovascular Group at Charles Sturt University and co-author of the study.
Even with contemporary medical treatment, the mortality rate from chronic heart failure is still very high, reaching 40 percent in very sick patients.
Considering the clear association between anemia and the mortality rate and hospitalisation rate, the researchers believe that optimal treatment of anemia, in addition to other heart-failure-specific therapies, may reduce the rate of mortality and further improve patient's prognosis.
A research article on the study's findings has been published in the journal Congestive Heart Failure.