Pancytopenia due to iron deficiency worsened by iron infusion: A case report

Department of Internal Medicine, Division of Oncology/Hematology, University of Nebraska Medical Center, Omaha, NE, USA. .
Journal of Medical Case Reports 02/2007; 1(1):175. DOI: 10.1186/1752-1947-1-175
Source: PubMed


Iron deficiency anemia is commonly associated with thrombocytosis, although thrombocytopenia has been reported in occasional patients with iron-deficiency anemia. Much less common is the development of thrombocytopenia following replenishment of iron stores.
We present the unusual case of a 39 year old African American female Jehovah's Witness who presented with a 10 month history of menorrhagia and pancytopenia. Laboratory investigations confirmed a severe iron deficiency. Since blood transfusion was unacceptable to her, she was started on intravenous iron replacement therapy. This precipitated a sudden drop in both her platelet and white blood cell counts. Histopathological examination of the bone marrow revealed a hypercellular marrow with orderly trilineage hematopoiesis, iron deficiency anemia, granulocytic hyperplasia, and mild megakaryocytic hypoplasia. Both her white blood cell and platelet counts recovered uneventfully with continuing iron supplementation. The possible mechanism for this phenomenon is discussed in this report.
This case illustrates two rather uncommon associations of a very common problem. Severe iron deficiency anemia may be associated with pancytopenia and iron replacement may cause a transient decline in megakaryopoiesis and leukopoiesis. Severe iron deficiency should be added to the list of conditions leading to thrombocytopenia.

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Available from: Apar Kishor Ganti
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    • "Radiation could have reduced the number of leukocytes available for mounting an inflammation. A link between lower iron levels and decrease in leukocyte number have already been described [52, 53]. A study showed a lower lymphocyte number in patients with iron deficiency anemia (IDA) which could also be true in our studied model [52]. "
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    ABSTRACT: The current study aimed to investigate radiation-induced regulation of iron proteins including ferritin subunits in rats. Rat livers were selectively irradiated in vivo at 25 Gy. This dose can be used to model radiation effects to the liver without inducing overt radiation-induced liver disease. Sham-irradiated rats served as controls. Isolated hepatocytes were irradiated at 8 Gy. Ferritin light polypeptide (FTL) was detectable in the serum of sham-irradiated rats with an increase after irradiation. Liver irradiation increased hepatic protein expression of both ferritin subunits. A rather early increase (3 h) was observed for hepatic TfR1 and Fpn-1 followed by a decrease at 12 h. The increase in TfR2 persisted over the observed time. Parallel to the elevation of AST levels, a significant increase (24 h) in hepatic iron content was measured. Complete blood count analysis showed a significant decrease in leukocyte number with an early increase in neutrophil granulocytes and a decrease in lymphocytes. In vitro, a significant increase in ferritin subunits at mRNA level was detected after irradiation which was further induced with a combination treatment of irradiation and acute phase cytokine. Irradiation can directly alter the expression of ferritin subunits and this response can be strongly influenced by radiation-induced proinflammatory cytokines. FTL can be used as a serum marker for early phase radiation-induced liver damage.
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    • "In patients with concomitant thrombocytopenia, a rapid rise in the platelet count also can serve as evidence of an appropriate hematological response to iron replenishment. Similar to our case, Ganti et al15 had a case of a 39 year female Jehovah’s Witness with a 10 month history of menorrhagia and pancytopenia and severe iron deficiency. Since blood transfusion was not allowed, she was started on intravenous iron replacement therapy which caused initial leucopenia and thrombocytopenia which recovered upon continuing iron supplementation Again such finding in similar cases clarifies the potential role of iron in thrombocytopenia associated with iron deficiency anemia. "
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    ABSTRACT: Thrombocytosis is a common disorder in patients diagnosed with iron deficiency anemia. The decreased platelet counts commonly found iron deficiency anemia is rarely reported in clinical practice. The exact mechanism of the occurrence of thrombocytopenia in iron deficiency anemia remains unclear. In this case report we discuss a triad of symptoms seen in the African American population: Iron deficiency anemia, menorrhagia and thrombocytopenia. A 40 year old multiparous African-American woman presented with heavy vaginal bleed, severe anemia (3.5 g/dL) and thrombocytopenia (30,000/mm(3)). The peripheral blood smear showed marked microcytic hypochromic cells with decreased platelets counts. After excluding other causes of thrombocytopenia and anemia, increased red cell distribution width and low iron saturation confirmed the diagnosis of iron deficiency anemia. Treatment for iron deficiency anemia was initiated with intravenous and oral iron supplements. Two months following treatment of iron deficiency anemia, the triad of manifestations resolved and patient remained stable. Profound degree of iron deficiency anemia can present with thrombocytopenia and severe menorrhagia. Iron replacement should be the main treatment goal in these patients. This case report further supports the 2 compartment model of the role of iron in maintaining platelet counts.
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