What is anaemia?

Anaemia is a condition characterised by a deficiency of red blood cells and haemoglobin in the blood. Common but rarely serious it can nevertheless be debilitating.

Anaemia causes tiredness and sleeping problems, pallor and a breathlessness that can aggravate an existing problem (e.g. cardiac insufficiency, chronic bronchitis, etc.). Symptoms may appear suddenly or progressively and impair the quality of life of those affected.  Anaemia has many causes: iron deficiency (very common) and/or certain vitamin deficiencies, an underlying auto-immune disease, hereditary or oncological diseases, etc. It is therefore essential to identify precisely the origin of an anaemia if it is to be treated effectively.  


Consultation and further examinations 

If your doctor (generalist or specialist) sees from your blood test results that you are anaemic  and considers that an examination is needed, you can yourself make an appointment online or by telephone. If your doctor believes this is urgent, he or she can contact the duty haematologist to ensure you are fast tracked. This will ensure you see a haematologist within 72 hours and if necessary you can receive immediate intravenous treatment at the Erasmus Day Hospital. If your blood test did not make it possible to identify the cause of your anaemia, further examinations will be carried out. For example, a bone marrow biopsy (not to be confused with a spinal cord biopsy) may be necessary.    It is in the bone marrow that red blood cells are produced. If not enough are being produced the biopsy often makes it possible to understand why.   

Treatment and follow up 

The treatment of anaemia depends on its cause and can include:   

  • Iron and/or vitamin supplements taken orally or intravenously for anaemia caused by a deficiency;    
  • EPO injections to stimulate the production of red cells by the bone marrow;   
  • Blood transfusions, etc. 

After initiating the treatment, the haematologist will inform your GP to draw up a joint treatment plan   



The H.U.B Department of Haematology is recognised for its expertise in a number of fields and pathologies potentially linked to anaemia.  The department is a European reference centre for rare causes of anaemia and other red blood cell and low iron disorders . This expertise makes it possible to propose certain leading edge treatments that can only be administered at a reference centre.



The H.U. B Department of Haematology has a clinical research unit. This enables certain patients to benefit from innovative treatment in the framework of clinical trials.