Gopal Krishnamurthy S. N, Ashwin Kulkarni, Anil Kumar T

BACKGROUND Anaemia is a common medical problem seen in all the age groups. Anaemia in elderly population has lot of impact on the quality of life. The causes of anaemia in elderly women is multifactorial. In this study, we tried to find out the clinico-etiological profile of anaemia in elderly women attending outpatient department in a General Hospital in South India. METHODS 65 women of age of more than 60 years with anaemia (haemoglobin<12 gm/dL) were included in the study. They were subjected to detailed history taking, clinical examination and investigations to find out the cause of anaemia. The clinical features, peripheral smear findings and the cause of anaemia in this group of patients were studied. RESULTS 65 patients were included in the study. Most of the patients were in the age group of 60-80 years. Most common symptoms were fatigue, breathlessness on exertion, diffuse aches and pains. Most frequent peripheral smear findings were microcytic hypochromic anaemia and dimorphic anaemia. Iron deficiency accounted for 51% of cases and Vitamin B12 deficiency accounted for 32% cases. In 18% of cases of Iron deficiency anaemia cause was nutritional. Other causes of iron deficiency were gastrointestinal blood loss due to peptic ulcers, carcinoma stomach and haemorrhoids. 2 patients had carcinoma cervix. 6 patients had chronic kidney disease. CONCLUSION The cause of anaemia in elderly women was very diverse. In this study, the most frequent cause was iron deficiency and Vitamin B12 deficiency. Malignancies of gastro-intestinal tract, cervix, endometrium and haematological systems were seen. Hence anaemia in elderly women needs a comprehensive approach and a detailed work up. The comorbidities, polypharmacy and dietary and social aspects are to be taken into consideration while evaluating the cause of anaemia in elderly women.