Intravenous iron and the risk of infection in end-stage renal disease patients

Semin Dial. Jan-Feb 2004;17(1):57-60. doi: 10.1111/j.1525-139x.2004.17115.x.


Oral iron is typically insufficient for the iron deficiency of hemodialysis patients. Intravenous (IV) iron is well tolerated by most patients and non-dextran-containing iron preparations are associated with few allergic reactions. However, there is the potential for an increased risk of infection with IV iron that appears to increase bacterial growth as well as inhibit the host's innate immune response to bacterial infection. Clinical studies suggest a link between iron therapy and infection. Practicing nephrologists should be aware of this issue, but should not hesitate to use IV iron in iron-deficient patients while avoiding the development of iron overload and administration of iron to patients who have active infection.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Bacteria / drug effects
  • Bacteria / growth & development
  • Bacterial Infections / chemically induced*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infusions, Intravenous
  • Iron / administration & dosage
  • Iron / adverse effects*
  • Iron / pharmacology
  • Kidney Failure, Chronic / complications*
  • Middle Aged
  • Risk Factors
  • Staphylococcal Infections / chemically induced*


  • Iron