Date Published: 
Wednesday, 22 May, 2013

How does iron deficiency affect clinical outcome in patients with chronic kidney disease?

How can iron therapy improve clinical outcomes in iron-deficient patients with CKD?

Iron therapy is widely used to treat iron deficiency, prevent its development in ESA-treated patients and raise haemoglobin levels in the presence or absence of ESAs. Effective iron replacement often allows a reduction in ESA dose1.

Randomised controlled trials have demonstrated that iron supplementation provides clinical benefits in patients with CKD and iron deficiency anaemia, including significant increases in haemoglobin levels2. Non-haematological benefits include improvements in physical performance, immune function, thermoregulation, cognition, and restless legs syndrome3.

Data also indicate that iron deficiency patients without anaemia may also experience improvements in quality of life with iron therapy2,3. A placebo-controlled study of non-dialysis dependent patients with CKD and anaemia showed significant improvements in quality of life with iron therapy, independent of effects on haemoglobin levels4.

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