Study Challenges Race-Based Anemia Definitions in Pregnancy, Calls for Uniform Guidelines

This study investigated the effectiveness of race-based definitions for antepartum anemia in pregnant women. It focused on different hemoglobin (Hb) treatment thresholds for Black and non-Black women according to American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists guidelines. By analyzing a cohort from the University of Pennsylvania, the study found that despite similar antepartum Hb levels, Black women had significantly increased odds of presenting with Hb<11g/dL at delivery compared to non-Black women.

The study highlights the critical need for revising anemia treatment protocols that currently vary by race, as they may contribute to higher rates of delivery with anemia among Black women, potentially leading to increased maternal and neonatal risks. The findings prompted a change in the institution’s guidelines to a uniform antepartum anemia threshold (Hb<11g/dL) for all women, aiming to eliminate this disparity. The study calls for further research to evaluate if standardized guidelines can reduce disparities in transfusion rates and other anemia-associated complications across different racial groups.

Reference: Hamm RF, Wang EY, Levine LD, Srinivas SK. Association Between Race and Hemoglobin at Delivery or Need for Transfusion When Using Race-Based Definitions for Treatment of Antepartum Anemia. Obstet Gynecol. 2021 Jul 1;138(1):108-110. doi: 10.1097/AOG.0000000000004439. PMID: 34259472; PMCID: PMC8288460.

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