Differential Diagnosis of Geriatric Anemia: Improving Outcomes for Treatable Causes

Saturday, 9/30 – 9:35am – 10:55am


Anemia is common in the elderly population, and is the cause of significant morbidity and mortality. While two-thirds of geriatric anemia cases can be attributed to a nutritional deficiency or to chronic disease, a staggering one-third of cases are unidentified and may be due to a more ominous underlying condition, such as bone marrow failure or hematologic malignancy. Primary care practitioners need to be better aware of the etiology and workup of geriatric anemia in order to improve outcomes to provide optimal management of these patients, including who and when to refer. This session is designed to guide PCPs through the differential diagnosis of geriatric anemia, specifically using mean corpuscular volume (MCV) and red blood cell distribution width (RDW), which are part of the standard complete blood count, to narrow differential diagnosis and guide subsequent evaluation.

The objective of this educational initiative is to improve knowledge, attitudes, and behaviors surrounding the awareness, workup, and management of geriatric anemia. To accomplish these goals, practical information on differentiating and managing the various causes of geriatric anemia will be presented in a highly interactive format using real world clinical cases likely to be seen in primary practice.

Learning Objectives

  • Differentiate among the etiological causes of anemia seen in geriatric patients
  • Develop appropriate workup of elderly patients diagnosed with symptomatic anemia or anemia detected by incidental blood testing
  • Incorporate strategies to manage elderly patients with anemia due to iron deficiency, nutritional deficiency, or chronic disease, and determine when it is appropriate to refer to a hematologist or gastroenterologist for further evaluation


This activity is supported by an educational grant from Celgene Corporation.

Accreditation Information

AMA PRA Category 1 Credit™: This activity has been planned and implemented in accordance with the accreditation requirements and policies of the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME) through the joint providership of Primary Care Network (PCN) and Clarity Communications. Primary Care Network is accredited by the ACCME to provide continuing medical education for physicians.

Primary Care Network designates this live activity for a maximum of 1.25 AMA PRA Category 1 Credits™. Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity.

ABIM MOC: Successful completion of this CME activity, which includes participation in the evaluation component, enables the participant to earn up to 1.25 Medical Knowledge MOC points in the American Board of Internal Medicine’s (ABIM) Maintenance of Certification (MOC) program. Participants will earn MOC points equivalent to the amount of CME credits claimed for the activity. It is the CME activity provider’s responsibility to submit participant completion information to ACCME for the purpose of granting ABIM MOC credit.

Please allow 6-8 weeks for your MOC points to appear on your ABIM records.

AAFP: This Live activity, Differential Diagnosis of Geriatric Anemia: Improving Outcomes for Treatable Causes, from 9/30/2017 – 11/18/2017, has been reviewed and is acceptable for up to 1.25 Prescribed credits by the American Academy of Family Physicians. Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity.

Faculty Information

Brian Koffman, MDCM, DCFP, DABFM, MS Ed

Medical Director, CLL Society
Retired Clinical Professor
Department of Family Medicine
Keck School of Medicine, USC Family Practice
St. Jude Heritage Medical Group
Diamond Bar, CA

Srikanth Nagalla, MD, MS

Associate Professor of Internal Medicine
Fellowship Program Director
Division of Hematology Oncology
UT Southwestern Medical Center
Dallas, TX