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Hemoglobin level low. Stopped chemo. Survival? Will there be cardiac arrest?

My Father s hemoglobin level was 8.2 at last Drs visit. we are choosing to stop all chemo treatments and I would like to know, how long can a person survive with this level and how fast it can go down from here and what happens when it goes lower? Will a heart attack be the most likely to happen or do other organs shut down first. He started out with skin cancer and then it has spread to his brain. He falls down like a rag doll at any given moment. How low does the level get before we know he is close to the end? If we start Hospice care I, believe they don t administer any shots to boost it so, what can we expect? Please, be frank and I thank you for your input and time. Sincerely, Wendy
Asked On : Thu, 16 Aug 2012
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Oncologist 's  Response
Hemoglobin (Hgb) is the major substance in red blood cells, and its level indicates the blood's ability to carry oxygen throughout the body. Studies have shown that low hemoglobin, which may result in anemia, is more common among patients with heart failure than it is among people in the general population. As many as 25 percent to 60 percent of heart failure patients have anemia, defined as hemoglobin less than 12 grams/deciliter in women and 13g/dL in men. Studies have shown that if you have anemia and heart failure, your risk of death and complications are increased appreciably with as much as 30 percent to 60 percent additional risk of death and hospitalization from heart failure.
When hemoglobin is below 8 g/dl, death is not far from occurring thus a transfusion is required.
I suggest your father takes 2 unit of packed red blood cell transfusion immediately as his heamoglobin is already 8.2 g/dl so it is maintained above 8 g/dl.
1 unit PRBC transfusion increases haemoglobin level by 1 g/dl.

Regards and take care
Answered: Thu, 5 Sep 2013
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