Screening, diagnosis and treatment of iron deficiency in chronic heart failure: putting the 2016 European Society of Cardiology heart failure guidelines into clinical practice

Theresa McDonagh, Thibaud Damy, Wolfram Doehner, Carolyn S P Lam, Andrew Sindone, Peter van der Meer, Alain Cohen-Solal, Ingrid Kindermann, Nicolas Manito, Otmar Pfister, Hanna Pohjantähti-Maaroos, Jackie Taylor, Josep Comin-Colet
European Journal of Heart Failure 2018, 20 (12): 1664-1672
Iron deficiency is common in patients with chronic heart failure (CHF) and is associated with reduced exercise performance, impaired health-related quality of life and an increased risk of mortality, irrespective of whether or not anaemia is present. Iron deficiency is a serious but treatable condition. Several randomized controlled clinical trials have demonstrated the ability of intravenous (IV) iron, primarily IV ferric carboxymaltose (FCM), to correct iron deficiency in patients with heart failure with reduced ejection fraction (HFrEF), resulting in improvements in exercise performance, CHF symptoms and health-related quality of life. The importance of addressing the issue of iron deficiency in patients with CHF is reflected in the 2016 European Society of Cardiology (ESC) heart failure guidelines, which recognize iron deficiency as an important co-morbidity, independent of anaemia. These guidelines recommend that all newly diagnosed heart failure patients are routinely tested for iron deficiency and that IV FCM should be considered as a treatment option in symptomatic patients with HFrEF and iron deficiency (serum ferritin < 100 µg/L, or ferritin 100-299 µg/L and transferrin saturation < 20%). Despite these specific recommendations, there is still a lack of practical, easy-to-follow advice on how to diagnose and treat iron deficiency in clinical practice. This article is intended to complement the current 2016 ESC heart failure guidelines by providing practical guidance to all health care professionals relating to the procedures for screening, diagnosis and treatment of iron deficiency in patients with CHF.

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