From the Journals

Severe COVID-19 may lower hemoglobin levels



A meta-analysis of four applicable studies found that the hemoglobin value was significantly lower in COVID-19 patients with severe disease, compared with those with milder forms, according to a letter to the editor of Hematology Transfusion and Cell Therapy by Giuseppe Lippi, MD, of the University of Verona (Italy) and colleague.

The four studies comprised 1,210 COVID-19 patients (224 with severe disease; 18.5%). The primary endpoint was defined as a composite of admission to the ICU, need of mechanical ventilation or death. The heterogeneity among the studies was high.

Overall, the hemoglobin value was found to be significantly lower in COVID-19 patients with severe disease than in those with milder forms, yielding a weighted mean difference of −7.1 g/L, with a 95% confidence interval of −8.3 g/L to −5.9 g/L.

“Initial assessment and longitudinal monitoring of hemoglobin values seems advisable in patients with the SARS-CoV-2 infection, whereby a progressive decrease in the hemoglobin concentration may reflect a worse clinical progression,” the authors stated. They also suggested that studies should be “urgently planned to assess whether transfusion support (e.g., with administration of blood or packed red blood cells) may be helpful in this clinical setting to prevent evolution into severe disease and death.”

The authors declared the had no conflicts of interest.

SOURCE: Lippi G et al. Hematol Transfus Cell Ther. 2020 Apr 11; doi:10.1016/j.htct.2020.03.001.

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