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These are the most common anemias. Usually the RBC morphology is normal and the reticulocyte index (RI) is low. Marrow damage, early iron deficiency, and decreased erythropoietin production or action may produce anemia of this type.
Marrow damage may be caused by infiltration of the marrow with tumor or fibrosis that crowds out normal erythroid precursors or by the absence of erythroid precursors (aplastic anemia) as a consequence of exposure to drugs, radiation, chemicals, viruses (e.g., hepatitis), autoimmune mechanisms, or genetic factors, either hereditary (e.g., Fanconi’s anemia) or acquired (e.g., paroxysmal nocturnal hemoglobinuria). Most cases of aplasia are idiopathic. The tumor or fibrosis that infiltrates the marrow may originate in the marrow (as in leukemia or myelofibrosis) or be secondary to processes originating outside the marrow (as in metastatic cancer or myelophthisis).
Early iron-deficiency anemia (or iron-deficient erythropoiesis) is associated with a decrease in serum ferritin levels (<15 μg/L), moderately elevated total iron-binding capacity (TIBC) (>380 μg/dL), serum iron (SI) level <50 μg/dL, and an iron saturation of <30% but >10% (Fig. 62-1). RBC morphology is generally normal until iron deficiency is severe (see below).
Decreased stimulation of erythropoiesis can be a consequence of inadequate erythropoietin production [e.g., renal disease destroying the renal tubular cells that produce it or hypometabolic states (endocrine deficiency or protein starvation)] in which insufficient erythropoietin is produced or of inadequate erythropoietin action. In older people, erythropoietin levels normally increase to maintain normal hemoglobin levels. If this increase does not happen, anemia may develop. About 11% of community-dwelling adults over age 65 and up to 45% of nursing home residents have this aging-related anemia. It is a relative erythropoietin deficiency without renal disease. The anemia of chronic disease is a common entity. It is multifactorial in pathogenesis: inhibition of erythropoietin production, inhibition of iron reutilization (which blocks the response to erythropoietin), and inhibition of erythroid colony proliferation by inflammatory cytokines (e.g., tumor necrosis factor, interferon γ). Hepcidin, a small iron-binding molecule produced by the liver during an acute-phase inflammatory response, may bind iron and prevent its reutilization in hemoglobin synthesis. The laboratory tests shown in Table 62-1 may assist in the differential diagnosis of hypoproliferative anemias. Measurement of hepcidin in the urine is not yet practical or widely available.
|Tests||Iron Deficiency||Inflammation||Renal Disease||Hypometabolic States||Anemia of Aging|
|Anemia||Mild to severe||Mild||Mild to severe||Mild||Mild|
|Serum ferritin (μg/L)||<15||30–200||115–150||Normal||Normal|
|Erythropoietin levels||High||Normal or High||Low||Normal or Low||Normal|