Iron deficiency in heart failure: a practical guide
Iron is an element necessary for cells due to its capacity of transporting oxygen and electrons. One of the important co-morbidities in heart failure is iron deficiency. Iron has relevant biological functions, for example, the formation of haemoglobin, myoglobin and numerous enzymatic groups. The prevalence of iron deficiency increases with the severity of heart failure. For a long time, the influence of iron deficiency was underestimated especially in terms of worsening of cardiovascular diseases and of developing anaemia. In recent years, studies with intravenous iron agents in patients with iron deficiency and cardiovascular diseases indicated new insights in the improvement of therapy. Experimental studies support the understanding of iron metabolism. Many physicians remain doubtful of the use of intravenous iron due to reports of side effects. The aim of this review is to describe iron metabolism in humans, to highlight the influence of iron deficiency on the course and symptoms of heart failure, discuss diagnostic tools of iron deficiency and provide guidance on the use of intravenous iron.
Iron deficiency in heart failure: a practical guide Nutrients. 2013 September