Study Title:

Guidelines on the diagnosis and treatment of iron deficiency across indications: a systematic review.

Study Abstract

Background: Guidelines on the diagnosis and treatment of iron deficiency (ID) vary widely across indications.

Objective: We reviewed all available guidelines on the management of ID worldwide.

Design: A literature search was conducted in PubMed, Cochrane, and EMBASE and in main professional association websites, limited to documents published between 1 January 2004 and 30 June 2014.

Results: Of 127 guidelines identified, 29 were selected, involving 29 professional associations and issued from the United States (n = 8), Europe (n = 6), Britain (n = 4), Canada (n = 3), international organizations (n = 2), France (n = 2), Poland (n = 1), Australia (n = 1), Mexico (n = 1), and Japan (n = 1). A total of 22 and 27 guidelines provided recommendations on diagnosis and treatment of ID, respectively. To define ID, all guidelines recommended a concentration for serum ferritin. One-half of them (10 of 22) proposed transferrin saturation (TSAT) as an alternative or complementary diagnostic test. To treat ID, most of the guidelines (18 of 27) recommended preferentially the oral route if possible, particularly in children and in women in the pre- or postpregnancy period. Iron supplementation should be administered intravenously according to 13 of 27 guidelines, particularly in patients with chronic kidney disease (CKD) (n = 7) and chemotherapy-induced anemia (n = 5). Treatment targets for ID included an increase in hemoglobin concentrations to 10-12 g/dL or normalization (n = 8) and serum ferritin >100 μg/L (n = 7) or 200 μg/L (n = 4). For the latter, in some situations, such as CKD, ferritin concentrations should not exceed 500 μg/L (n = 5) or 800 μg/L (n = 5). Only 9 guidelines recommended TSAT as a target, proposing various thresholds ranging from 20% to 50%.

Conclusions: It appears that for the diagnosis of ID, a cutoff of 100 μg/L for serum ferritin concentration should be considered in most conditions and 20% for TSAT, except in particular situations, including young healthy women with heavy menstrual flow. New indications of intravenous iron supplementation are emerging.

Study Information

Am J Clin Nutr. 2015 Dec;102(6):1585-94. doi: 10.3945/ajcn.114.103366. Epub 2015 Nov 11. PMID: 26561626.

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