Background: Correction of iron deficiency is critical in chronic hemodialysis patients, and intravenous administration is superior to the oral route in this goal. Recently, concern was raised that intravenous iron administration might promote infection in dialysis patients.
Methods: We reviewed the data from a recent prospective study of 985 patients in which no link between iron therapy and bacteremia had been found. We tested the potential role of the administration route of the iron (intravenous vs. oral), the weekly amount of iron administered and the administration rate on the risk for bacteremia in these patients.
Results: were 4-fold: in multivariate analysis, neither intravenous iron administration in the whole population nor the weekly amount of iron in the subgroup of i.v. iron-treated patients were significant risk factors for bacteremia; iron was not given more frequently intravenously in bacteremic than in non-bacteremic patients; among patients treated with intravenous iron, the frequency and the amount of iron administered were significantly higher in those who developed bacteremia than in those who did not; and in patients receiving i.v. iron, there was an increased risk of bacteremia associated with concurrent administration of erythropoietin, which was not observed in patients receiving iron orally.
Conclusion: This study failed to demonstrate a significant association between intravenous iron administration and the risk of bacteremia in dialysis patients. However, there might be a slightly increased risk of bacteremia in patients given high-frequency, high-dose intravenous iron.