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June 13, 2007

Hematocrit Level and Postsurgical Outcome: Powers of Observation

Author Affiliations

Author Affiliations: Department of Surgery, University of Washington, Seattle. Dr Flum is Contributing Editor, JAMA.

JAMA. 2007;297(22):2525-2526. doi:10.1001/jama.297.22.2525

In this issue of JAMA, Wu and colleagues1 report the results of a cohort study examining the relationship between preoperative hematocrit levels and adverse events among older veterans (most of whom were men) undergoing noncardiac surgery. Incremental departures less than or greater than normal hematocrit levels for mostly men were associated with increased risk of early death and postoperative cardiac events. The authors recommend future studies to evaluate interventions aimed at reducing the risk of postsurgical events attributable to either anemia or polycythemia.