HealthDay News — Functional iron deficiency (FID), defined as ferritin less than 100µg/L, or as ferritin 100 to 299µg/L and transferrin saturation less than 20%, is associated with coronary heart disease (CHD), cardiovascular mortality, and all-cause mortality, according to a study published online October 5 in ESC Heart Failure.

Benedikt Schrage, MD, from the University Heart and Vascular Center Hamburg in Germany, and colleagues examined the associations of absolute iron deficiency (AID), defined as ferritin less than 100µg/L or as ferritin less than 30µg/L (severe AID), and FID with incident cardiovascular disease and mortality in the general population using data for 12,164 individuals from 3 European population-based cohorts.

Overall, AID, severe AID, and FID were prevalent in 60.0, 16.4, and 64.3% of patients, respectively. The researchers observed an association for AID with CHD (hazard ratio, 1.20), but not with mortality. An association was seen for severe AID with all-cause mortality (hazard ratio, 1.28), but not with cardiovascular mortality or CHD. Associations were seen for FID with CHD, cardiovascular mortality, and all-cause mortality (hazard ratios, 1.24, 1.26, and 1.12, respectively). Within 10 years of follow-up, 10.7% of CHD incidence and 5.4 and 11.7% of all deaths and all cardiovascular deaths, respectively, were attributable to FID.

“The study showed that iron deficiency was highly prevalent in this middle-aged population, with nearly two-thirds having functional iron deficiency,” Schrage said in a statement. “These individuals were more likely to develop heart disease and were also more likely to die during the next 13 years.”

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Several authors disclosed financial ties to the pharmaceutical industry.

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