A 72-year-old man developed chest pain whenever he was physically active. The pain ceased on stopping his activity. He has no history of heart or lung disease. His physical examination was normal except for notable pallor.
A 72-year-old man developed chest pain whenever he was physically active. The pain ceased on
stopping his activity. He has no history of heart or lung disease. His physical examination was
normal except for notable pallor.
Electrocardiogram (EKG), p. 485 Ischemia noted in anterior leads
Chest x-ray study, p. 956 No active disease
Complete blood count (CBC), p.
Red blood cell (RBC) count, p.
2.1 million/mm (normal: 4.7–6.1 million/mm)
RBC indices, p. 399
Mean corpuscular volume
72 mm 3 (normal: 80–95 mm
Mean corpuscular hemoglobin
22 pg (normal: 27–31 pg)
Mean corpuscular hemoglobin
21 pg (normal: 27–31 pg)
Red blood cell distribution width
9% (normal: 11%–14.5%)
Hemoglobin (Hgb), p. 251 5.4 g/dL (normal: 14–18 g/dL)
Hematocrit (Hct), p. 248 18% (normal: 42%–52%)
White blood cell (WBC) count, p.
7800/mm 3 (normal: 4,500–10,000/mcL)
WBC differential count, p. 466 Normal differential
Platelet count (thrombocyte
count), p. 362
Within normal limits (WNL) (normal: 150,000–
400,000/mm 3 )
Half-life of RBC 26–30 days (normal)
Liver/spleen ratio, p. 750 1:1 (normal)
Spleen/pericardium ratio <2:1 (normal)
Reticulocyte count, p. 407 3.0% (normal: 0.5%–2.0%)
Haptoglobin, p. 245 122 mg/dL (normal: 100–150 mg/dL)
Blood typing, p. 114 O+
Iron level studies, p. 287
Iron 42 (normal: 65–175 mcg/dL)
Total iron-binding capacity
500 (normal: 250–420 mcg/dL)
Transferrin (siderophilin) 200 mg/dL (normal: 215–365 mg/dL)
Transferrin saturation 15% (normal: 20%–50%)
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Ferritin, p. 211 8 ng/mL (normal: 12–300 ng/mL)
Vitamin B12, p. 460 140 pg/mL (normal: 100–700 pg/mL)
Folic acid, p. 218 12 mg/mL (normal: 5–20 mg/mL or 14–34 mmol/L)
The patient was found to be significantly anemic. His angina was related to his anemia. His
normal RBC survival studies and normal haptoglobin eliminated the possibility of hemolysis..
His RBCs were small and hypochromic. His iron studies were compatible with iron deficiency.
His marrow was inadequate for the degree of anemia because his iron level was reduced.
On transfusion of O-positive blood, his angina disappeared. While receiving his third unit of
packed RBCs, he developed an elevated temperature to 38.5°C, muscle aches, and back pain.
The transfusion was stopped, and the following studies were performed:
Hgb, p. 251 7.6 g/dL
Hct, p. 248 24%
Direct Coombs test, p. 157 Positive; agglutination (normal: negative)
Platelet count, p. 362 85,000/mm 3
Platelet antibody, p. 360 Positive (normal: negative)
Haptoglobin, p. 245 78 mg/dL
The patient was experiencing a blood transfusion incompatibility reaction. His direct Coombs
test and haptoglobin studies indicated some hemolysis because of the reaction. His platelet count
dropped because of antiplatelet antibodies, probably the same ABO antibodies that caused the
He was given iron orally over the next 3 weeks, and his Hgb level improved. A rectal
examination indicated that his stool was positive for occult blood. Colonoscopy indicated a right-
side colon cancer, which was removed 4 weeks after his initial presentation. He tolerated the
Critical Thinking Questions
1. What was the cause of this patient’s iron-deficiency anemia?
2. Explain the relationship between anemia and angina.
3. Would your recommend B12 and Folic Acid to this patient? Explain your rationale for
4. What other questions would you ask to this patient and what would be your rationale for