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December 1, 1999

Anemia in Older Patients

Author Affiliations

Phil B.FontanarosaMD, Interim CoeditorIndividualAuthorMargaret A.WinkerMD, Deputy EditorIndividualAuthorStephenLurieMD PhD, Fishbein FellowIndividualAuthor

JAMA. 1999;282(21):2001. doi:10-1001/pubs.JAMA-ISSN-0098-7484-282-21-jbk1201

To the Editor: Although the study by Dr Izaks and colleagues1 on the definition of anemia in older persons provides valuable information, several key points require clarification.

First, all the statistically significant mortality data presented are for the 0- to 5-year follow-up period. For the remaining 5- to 10-year follow-up period, however, there is no difference in mortality between anemic and normocythemic patients. In fact, in patients without apparent clinical disease, there is a trend toward a decreased risk of death in anemic patients. Can the authors explain this? In addition, was the difference in the mortality rate between anemic and normocythemic patients statistically significant?