The Journal of Bucharest College of Physicians and the Romanian Academy of Medical Sciences

Characteristics of Anemia in Rheumatoid Arthritis


Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is an inflammatory, chronic and systemic disease that primarily affects the synovial joints. Anemia is a common extra-articular manifestation in the absence of an effective treatment. The main mechanisms involved include shortening the lifespan of erythrocytes, inadequate bone marrow and abnormalities in iron metabolism. Eighty-eight patients over 18 years with definite diagnosis of rheumatoid were included in this study. The prevalence, respectively the characteristics of anemia were analyzed, together with demographic data, the type of symptoms, the type of comorbidities, the hematological indices and treatments. The mean age of the study population was 65.31 ± 12.57 years. Treat to target was achieved in one third of the patients (36.4%). The prevalence of anemia was 55% with higher prevalence in males (57%) than females (50%). Anemia was associated with higher disease activity (p=0.036). Out of the anemic patients, 7.14% had megaloblastic anemia, 40.48% had anemia of chronic disease and 21.43% suffered from iron deficiency anemia. Microcytic normochromic and normocytic hypochromic patterns can have mixed causes, belonging to both iron-pathophysiological processes and chronic inflammation. The prevalence of anemia at the 1-year check-up was 29.44% and the percentage of patients who achieved treat-to-target goals increased from 36.40% to 40.90%. The majority (48.80%) did not prove to have anemia neither at admission nor at follow-up. The results of the study suggest that anemic patients tend to have a higher level of RA activity, therefore screening for anemic syndrome should be part of the management of these patients, in an effort to establish the best therapeutic conduct.