Iron deficiency linked with cystic fibrosis disease severity

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) – Iron deficiency is common in patients with cystic fibrosis (CF), and is directly related with increased severity of suppurative lung disease, according to a report in the January issue of Chest.

To test their hypothesis that iron deficiency in CF is related to the severity of suppurative lung disease, Dr. Donald W. Reid and colleagues from Monash University Medical School, Melbourne, Australia, determined the iron status of 30 randomly selected adults with CF.

They examined the relationship between iron status and severity of lung disease and GI factors by measuring daily sputum volume, FEV1 percent predicted, C-reactive protein (CRP) level, erythrocyte sedimentation rate, and degree of pancreatic supplementation. In addition, they measured the sputum concentration of iron and ferritin in a subgroup of 13 subjects.

"Seventy-four percent of subjects experienced iron deficiency," the team reports. They observed no association with the degree of pancreatic supplementation. There was a strong association between daily sputum volume and low serum iron levels, transferrin saturation, ferritin/CRP ratio, and FEV1 percent predicted (p < 0.01).

The researchers found a negative association between serum iron levels and transferrin saturation and CRP (p < 0.01) and erythrocyte sedimentation rate (p < 0.05). There was a positive correlation with FEV1 percent predicted and serum iron level (p < 0.01), transferrin saturation (p < 0.05), and ferritin/CRP ratio (p < 0.05).

"Sputum iron concentration…and ferritin concentration…exceeded plasma levels and negatively correlated with FEV1 percent predicted," Dr. Reid and colleagues report.

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