Type your tag names separated by a space and hit enter


Anemia is a topic covered in the 5-Minute Emergency Consult.

To view the entire topic, please or purchase a subscription.

Emergency Central is a collection of disease, drug, and test information including 5-Minute Emergency Medicine Consult, Davis’s Drug, McGraw-Hill Medical’s Diagnosaurus®, Pocket Guide to Diagnostic Tests, and MEDLINE Journals created for emergency medicine professionals. Explore these free sample topics:

Emergency Central

-- The first section of this topic is shown below --



  • Reduction below normal in the mass of RBCs
  • Measured by 1 or more of the major RBC components:
    • Hemoglobin (Hgb): Concentration of the major oxygen-carrying component in whole blood
    • Hematocrit (Hct): Percent volume of whole blood occupied by intact RBCs
    • RBC count: RBCs contained in a volume of whole blood
  • Adult female: Hgb <12 g/dL or Hct <37%
  • Adult male: Hgb <14 g/dL or Hct <42%
  • Normal blood count values depend on age:
    • Birth: Hgb 16.5, Hct 51
    • 1 yr: Hgb 12, Hct 36
    • 6 yr: Hgb 12.5, Hct 37
    • Adult male: Hgb 14, Hct 42
    • Adult female: Hgb 12, Hct 37
  • Hgb/Hct depend on oxygen pressure:
    • Increased in neonates and people living above 4,000 ft
  • Hgb, Hct, and RBC count are concentrations:
    • Dependent on RBC mass and plasma volume
    • Values decrease if RBC mass decreases or plasma volume increases.
  • Anemia is an indication of an underlying disorder or deficiency.


  • Never a normal variant:
    • May be the first manifestation of a systemic disorder
    • Always seek a cause.
  • Excessive blood loss (most common cause):
    • Trauma
    • GI bleed
    • Menstruation
  • Hemolysis (increased RBC destruction, RBC lifespan <100 days):
    • Hypersplenism
    • Autoimmune hemolytic anemia
    • Mechanical trauma (prosthetic heart valves, vasculitis, thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura [TTP], hemolytic uremic syndrome [HUS], or disseminated intravascular coagulation [DIC])
    • Toxins
    • Infections (malaria, babesiosis)
    • Membrane abnormalities
    • Intracellular RBC abnormalities (G6PD, sickle cell anemia, or thalassemia)
  • Decreased RBC synthesis:
    • Classified by measurement of RBC size
    • Hypochromic/microcytic:
      • Iron deficiency
      • Thalassemia
      • Sideroblastic
      • Chronic disease
    • Normochromic/macrocytic:
      • Hypothyroidism
      • Folate deficiency
      • Vitamin B12 deficiency
      • Liver disease
      • Myelodysplasia
      • Certain leukemias
    • Normochromic/normocytic:
      • Aplastic anemia
      • Chronic renal failure
      • Malignancy
      • Adrenal insufficiency
      • Hyperparathyroidism
      • Alcohol abuse
      • Acute blood loss

-- To view the remaining sections of this topic, please or purchase a subscription --


Rosen, Peter, et al., editors. "Anemia." 5-Minute Emergency Consult, 5th ed., Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, 2016. Emergency Central, emergency.unboundmedicine.com/emergency/view/5-Minute_Emergency_Consult/307502/all/Anemia.
Anemia. In: Rosen P, Shayne P, Barkin AZ, et al, eds. 5-Minute Emergency Consult. 5th ed. Lippincott Williams & Wilkins; 2016. https://emergency.unboundmedicine.com/emergency/view/5-Minute_Emergency_Consult/307502/all/Anemia. Accessed April 25, 2019.
Anemia. (2016). In Rosen, P., Shayne, P., Barkin, A. Z., Wolfe, R. E., Hayden, S. R., Barkin, R. M., & Schaider, J. J. (Eds.), 5-Minute Emergency Consult. Available from https://emergency.unboundmedicine.com/emergency/view/5-Minute_Emergency_Consult/307502/all/Anemia
Anemia [Internet]. In: Rosen P, Shayne P, Barkin AZ, Wolfe RE, Hayden SR, Barkin RM, Schaider JJ, editors. 5-Minute Emergency Consult. Lippincott Williams & Wilkins; 2016. [cited 2019 April 25]. Available from: https://emergency.unboundmedicine.com/emergency/view/5-Minute_Emergency_Consult/307502/all/Anemia.
* Article titles in AMA citation format should be in sentence-case
TY - ELEC T1 - Anemia ID - 307502 ED - Rosen,Peter, ED - Shayne,Philip, ED - Barkin,Adam Z, ED - Wolfe,Richard E, ED - Hayden,Stephen R, ED - Barkin,Roger M, ED - Schaider,Jeffrey J, BT - 5-Minute Emergency Consult UR - https://emergency.unboundmedicine.com/emergency/view/5-Minute_Emergency_Consult/307502/all/Anemia PB - Lippincott Williams & Wilkins ET - 5 DB - Emergency Central DP - Unbound Medicine ER -