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Early Post-Hospitalization Hemoglobin Recovery and Clinical Outcomes in Survivors of Critical Illness: A Population-Based Cohort Study

Anemia is common during critical illness, is associated with adverse clinical outcomes, and often persists after hospitalization. The goal of this investigation is to assess the relationships between post-hospitalization hemoglobin recovery and clinical outcomes after survival of critical illness. This is a population-based observational study of adults (≥18 years) surviving hospitalization for critical illness between January 1, 2010 and December 31, 2016 in Olmsted County, Minnesota, United States with hemoglobin concentrations and clinical outcomes assessed through one-year post-hospitalization. Multi-state proportional hazards models were utilized to assess the relationships between 1-month post-hospitalization hemoglobin recovery and hospital readmission or death through one-year after discharge. Among 6460 patients that survived hospitalization for critical illness during the study period, 2736 (42%) were alive, not hospitalized, and had available hemoglobin concentrations assessed at 1-month post-index hospitalization. Median (interquartile range) age was 69 (56, 80) years with 54% of male gender. Overall, 86% of patients had anemia at the time of hospital discharge, with median discharge hemoglobin concentrations of 10.2 (9.1, 11.6) g/dL. In adjusted analyses, each 1 g/dL increase in 1-month hemoglobin recovery was associated with decreased instantaneous hazard for hospital readmission (HR 0.87 [95% CI 0.84-0.90]; p < 0.001) and lower mortality (HR 0.82 [95% CI 0.75-0.89]; p < 0.001) through one-year post-hospitalization. The results were consistent in multiple pre-defined sensitivity analyses. Impaired early post-hospitalization hemoglobin recovery is associated with inferior clinical outcomes in the first year of survival after critical illness. Additional investigations are warranted to evaluate these relationships.

Authors: Warner, Matthew A; Hanson, Andrew C; Schulte, Phillip J; Roubinian, Nareg H; Storlie, Curt; Demuth, Gabriel; Gajic, Ognjen; Kor, Daryl J

J Intensive Care Med. 2022 Aug;37(8):1067-1074. Epub 2022-02-01.

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