ABSTRACT: For treating end-stage renal disease-associated anemia, various strategies to achieve optimal hemoglobin levels with lower erythropoiesis stimulating agent doses are being tried. One of these involves the use of a high dose [transferrin saturation (TSAT) >30%] of intravenous (IV) iron supplementation. However, due to in vitro effects of iron on stimulating bacterial growth, there are concerns of increased risk of infection. The safety of higher iron targets with respect to infectious complications (bacteremias, pneumonias, soft tissue infections, and osteomyelitis) is unknown. This was a retrospective study of patients on maintenance hemodialysis from a single, urban dialysis center to assess the long-term impact of the higher cumulative use of IV iron, on the incidence of clinically important infections. Our iron protocol was modified in June 2010 to aim for TSAT >30% unless serum ferritin levels were >1200 ng/mL. Data from only those patients who had been on dialysis for the whole duration between June 2009 and May 2011 were included. A total of 140 patients with end-stage renal disease on hemodialysis patients were found to be eligible for the study. There was a statistically significant increase in the mean TSAT and mean serum ferritin with the new anemia management protocol with a significant decrease in the mean erythropoiesis stimulating agent dose requirement. There was no statistically significant increase in the incidence of infectious complications. Although in vitro effects of iron are known to stimulate bacterial growth, a higher IV dose of iron may not increase the risk of infection in such patients.
American journal of therapeutics 07/2012;