Quality of life is impaired in MDS, but the role of hemoglobin level is unclear. To study the Hb–QoL correlation at diagnosis and 1 year later, patients filled out the EQ-5D questionnaire, assessing their mobility, self care, daily activities, pain/discomfort, and anxiety/depression, using scores of 0 (normal), 1 (mild/moderate), or 2 (poor). They also evaluated their health using a visual analogue scale, scoring from 0 (poor) to 100 (excellent). The anemia subgroups were: none/normal (Hb ≥ 12.5 g/dL), mild (10 ≤ Hb < 12.5), moderate (9 ≤ Hb < 10), severe (8 ≤ Hb < 9), or very severe (Hb < 8). LR-MDS patients (n = 127) and inpatient controls (n = 141) participated. The anemic patients had a poor QoL and the MDS patients had a lower QoL with a lower Hb. The controls had no QoL difference among the various anemia subgroups. In addition, the MDS QoL sharply decreased with an Hb of < 9. The MDS patients showed a wide QoL variability, i.e., different QoL scores in the same Hb subgroup, suggesting that other factors affect QoL (e.g., age and comorbidities). After 1 year (n = 61), the QoL was still poor for most MDS patients (including 27 patients with an increased Hb). In summary: (1) a poor QoL in MDS-anemia is non-linear, suggesting other influencing factors on QoL. (2) The sharp QoL drop with Hb < 9 g/dL challenges the transfusion Hb threshold. (3) The QoL in anemic MDS patients might differ from that in non-MDS patients. (4) Raising Hb, while recommended, does not guarantee an improved QoL.

Original languageEnglish
Article number5865
JournalJournal of Clinical Medicine
Issue number18
StatePublished - 9 Sep 2023

Bibliographical note

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  • anemia
  • myelodysplastic neoplasms
  • myelodysplastic syndrome
  • quality of life
  • transfusion


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