functional iron deficiency

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functional iron deficiency

A deficiency of iron significant enough to affect the development of healthy red blood cells. It may precede the appearance of measurable anemia.

Patient care

Functional iron deficiency may be defined by the presence of hypochromatic red cells; by an increase in hemoglobin production after test doses of administered iron; or, most accurately, by the measurement of the mean hemoglobin content of reticulocytes. It is common in patients receiving hemodialysis and in critically ill persons.


Treatments include iron and folate supplements and epoetin alpha (Procrit) to increase red blood cell production. In emergencies, infusion of fresh frozen packed cells or washed packed cells provide temporary relief.

See also: deficiency
Medical Dictionary, © 2009 Farlex and Partners
References in periodicals archive ?
Hepatitis promotes an increase in serum ferritin in response to the inflammatory stimulus [99], such that functional iron deficiency can develop.
The results of the present study confirm that it is important to treat absolute iron deficiency in patients with heart failure, but suggest that it may not be useful to give iron supplements to heart failure patients with functional iron deficiency.
Functional iron deficiency is diagnosed when serum ferritin is 100-200% ng/ml.
In a prospective cohort study of 1506 patients with chronic CHF, 753 patients had absolute or functional iron deficiency according to the above definition.
Fragment and macrophage iron reflect iron stores while iron in the erythroblast is indicative of utilizable iron which is diminished in functional iron deficiency.
ESA therapy and decreased transferrin can cause functional iron deficiency, which may ultimately lead to absolute iron deficiency (Fishbane, Mittal, & Maesaka, 1999).
The functional iron deficiency observed in healthy individuals treated with r-HuEPO is associated with early and significant changes in CHr.
The combined effect results in reduced iron availability for erythropoiesis, creating a "functional iron deficiency." (9)
Finally, EPO therapy stimulates a supraphysiological production of RBCs that, in turn, increases iron utilization and leads to functional iron deficiency. Functional iron deficiency occurs when the need for an increase in iron to support Hb synthesis is greater than the amount that can be released from iron stores (NKF, 2001).
He has described the appearance of functional iron deficiency in healthy individuals treated with recombinant human erythropoietin (r-HuEPO) based on the particular flow cytometric characteristics of erythrocytes and reticulocytes.
Studies in patients on dialysis have shown that hepcidin levels correlate with functional iron deficiency and Epoetin alfa hyporesponsiveness.
Biochemical markers are also less effective in diagnosing functional iron deficiency, a transient discrepancy between iron supply and utilization that is mostly seen in individuals treated with recombinant human erythropoietin (r-HuEPO).

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