Should anemia be treated before elective heart surgery?

Patients with severe anemia have double the mortality of those without anemia. Patients and family doctors are advised to rectify anemic status before heart surgery.

Unlike other recognized risk factors for cardiac surgery patients, such as advanced age and poor kidney function, anemia can be corrected with iron supplementation and medications that stimulate red blood cell production. Unfortunately, to correct anemia we need two to three weeks before the operation, which may be too long for many patients to wait.

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