Screening for iron deficiency, which affects a significant proportion of the population, is a burning issue in the health care system.
The aim of the authors was to examine whether low mean cell hemoglobin concentration measured by automated hematology analyzers is a suitable screening parameter for iron deficiency.
The data for this study included a total of 247,705 complete blood counts and 10,840 tests with different parameters of iron metabolism. Patients were evaluated at Somogy County Kaposi Mór Teaching Hospital during a period of 30 months between January 1, 2013 and June 30, 2015. Low cell hemoglobin values were analyzed with iron metabolism parameters measured simultaneously.
A total of 830 patients whose iron metabolism parameters were measured simultaneously had low mean cell hemoglobin (<28pg). Of the 830 patients, 679 (82%) had both low mean cell hemoglobin and iron deficiency, while in 126 hemodialysed patients (15%), 8 patients with myelofibrosis, and 5 patients with rheumatic arthritis had low mean cell hemoglobin without iron deficiency. In the remaining 6 patients the cause of low mean cell hemoglobin or iron deficiency was not identified.
Based on these findings the authors conclude that mean cell hemoglobin may be a reliable screening marker for iron deficiency. Orv. Hetil., 2016, 157(1), 35-38.