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Use Heart to Take Iron Seriously

Iron is essential for keeping our bodies and brains healthy. It brings oxygen to our blood cells, helps convert food into energy and enables us to maintain a normal immune system.

Too little or too much iron has detrimental effects on the body and can lead to arrhythmia and blood pressure anomalies. Chronic heart failure patients are more prone to iron deficiency.

50%

Up to 50% of patients with heart failure are iron deficient

19%

People suffering from both heart failure and iron deficiency have their quality of life reduced by 19%

All patients with heart failure should be periodically screened for anaemia and iron deficiency

Anemia and iron deficiency are two important co-morbidities in heart failure. Anemia is a decrease in the total amount of red blood cells (RBCs) or hemoglobin in the blood, leading to a lowered capacity of the blood to carry oxygen.  The most common type of anemia is caused by lack of iron, such as in blood loss or extra need of iron as in pregnancy.

Iron deficiency without anemia can occur when a person has a normal amount of RBCs/hemoglobin, but below normal iron in the blood which is measured by serum ferritin (protein that stores and releases iron) and transferrin saturation that are too low. The consequences of iron deficiency in heart failure include reduced functional capacity, increased risk of hospitalisation, increased symptoms and poorer quality of life.

Anemia and iron deficiency are two important co-morbidities in heart failure. Anemia is a decrease in the total amount of red blood cells (RBCs) or hemoglobin in the blood, leading to a lowered capacity of the blood to carry oxygen.  The most common type of anemia is caused by lack of iron, such as in blood loss or extra need of iron as in pregnancy.

Iron deficiency without anemia can occur when a person has a normal amount of RBCs/hemoglobin, but below normal iron in the blood “which is measured by serum ferritin” (protein that stores and releases iron) and transferrin saturation that are too low.

Heart failure occurs when the heart stops pumping blood as well as it should be. It is the world’s leading cause of hospitalization, affecting more than 64 million people worldwide.

Read more about heart failure here

Chronic heart failure patients are more prone to iron deficiency. Up to 50% of patients with heart failure are iron deficient1

The consequences of iron deficiency in heart failure include reduced functional capacity, increased risk of hospitalisation, increased symptoms and poorer quality of life. People suffering from both heart failure and iron deficiency have their quality of life reduced by 19%2 compared to a patient without iron deficiency.

The updated 2021 European Society of Cardiology (ESC) guidelines for the diagnosis and treatment of acute and chronic heart failure recommend diagnostic tests in all patients with suspected chronic heart failure; periodical screening for anaemia and iron deficiency with a full blood count, serum ferritin concentration and TSAT for all patients with all patients with heart failure.3

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Latest News

The European Hematology Association and the World Heart Federation have joined forces to raise awareness on heart failure and iron deficiency

Iron deficiency is present in one-third of the world’s population. However, heart failure patients are disproportionately affected – up to fifty percent of people living with chronic heart failure are iron deficient.   Despite being a strong independent predictor of heart failure outcomes, it is often neglected. It is therefore recommended by the European Society of Cardiology that all heart failure […]

Heart Failure

REFERENCES

  1. Klip IT. et al. 2013; doi.org/10.1016/j.ahj.2013.01.017
  2. Comín-Colet J. et al. 2011; doi:10.1016/j.cardfail.2011.08.003
  3. McDonagh TA. et al. 2021; doi: 10.1093/eurheartj/ehab368