Alcoholism-associated Anemia

Alcoholism-associated Anemia

Kaaren K. Reichard, MD

Peripheral blood smear demonstrates severe anemia in an alcoholic patient. Note the poikilocytosis comprised of target red blood cell forms and fragments image.

Iron stain of bone marrow aspirate smear demonstrates increased ring sideroblasts image in a patient with chronic alcoholism and cirrhosis.



  • Anemia in setting of known chronic alcoholism

  • Anemia may be multifactorial


Variety of Mechanisms

  • Anemia of chronic disease

  • Direct toxicity of ethanol and its byproducts (acetaldehyde) on bone marrow

  • Nutritional deficiency (notably iron or folate deficiency)

  • Red blood cell survival defects

  • Hemodilution

  • Blood loss

Jun 13, 2016 | Posted by in PATHOLOGY & LABORATORY MEDICINE | Comments Off on Alcoholism-associated Anemia
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