Prevalence of anaemia in surgical patients throughout Germany from 2007 – 2017


Approximately 30% of the global population worldwide suffer from anaemia. Typical symptoms are fatigue, anaemic pallor, weakness and limited performance, since the oxygen-rich blood supply of vital organs is limited. Blood loss during surgery can aggravate the condition and increase the risk of serious organ damage. For this reason, blood transfusions are more often applied to anaemic patients. Nonetheless, preoperative anaemia with additional blood transfusion during surgery is associated with an increased mortality. In addition, preoperative anaemia carries a higher risk of postoperative complications and prolonged hospital stay.

During the last decade, utilization of blood transfusions has changed in Europe due to guidelines claiming a more restrictive transfusion strategy. However, the blood transfusion rate in Germany has increased. The underlying reason is unknown but might be caused by an increased anaemia prevalence in surgical patients.

Aim of the study

This study is intended to examine the course of anaemia prevalence in different hospitals in Germany over the past 10 years. In doing so, both the prevalence of preoperative anaemia and hospital-acquired anaemia will be identified by taking various parameters into account, e.g. surgical discipline. We are going to evaluate whether anaemia management programs could help diagnose and treat anaemia in early stages, reduce unnecessary blood loss and promote a rational use of blood products.

This study is registered an the German clinical trial register. All details are given here.


Prof. Dr. Patrick Meybohm, Leonie Judd & Dr. Suma Choorapoikayil