(HealthDay News) – For patients with metabolic syndrome, phlebotomy correlates with lower systolic blood pressure and improvements in cardiovascular risk markers and glycemic control, with the changes associated with a reduction in ferritin.

Khosrow S. Houschyar, from University Duisburg-Essen in Germany, and colleagues conducted a randomized trial involving 64 patients with metabolic syndrome to investigate whether phlebotomy-induced reduction of body iron stores would affect clinical presentation. Patients were randomly allocated to iron reduction by phlebotomy (33 participants) or a control group (31 participants); the control group was offered phlebotomy at the end of the study. The phlebotomy group underwent removal of 300mL of blood at entry and removal of 250–500mL after four weeks.

The researchers found that systolic blood pressure decreased significantly more in the phlebotomy group than in the control group (difference, −16.6mmHg). There was no significant effect observed in the Homeostatic Model Assessment index after six weeks. In the phlebotomy group, significant decreases were seen in blood glucose, glycated hemoglobin, low-density lipoprotein/high-density lipoprotein ratio, and heart rate. The changes in blood pressure were associated with ferritin reduction.

“In patients with metabolic syndrome, phlebotomy, with consecutive reduction of body iron stores, lowered blood pressure and resulted in improvements in markers of cardiovascular risk and glycemic control,” the authors write.

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