Aim: In vitro evidence suggests that different intravenous iron (i.v. Fe) preparations may be associated with different infection rates. This observational study was to determine if different bacteremia rates are associated with different types or amounts of i.v. Fe preparations.
Materials and methods: This retrospective, single-center study was carried out from April 2001 November 2002, a period in which a global switch from ferric gluconate (FG) to iron sucrose (IS) occurred. During Period I (April 2001 - January 2002) FG was the only i.v. Fe administered in our hemodialysis unit. During Period II (February 2002 - November 2002) IS was the only i.v. Fe administered in our unit. Group A (n = 63) received hemodialysis during both Period I and Period II. Group B (n = 41) received hemodialysis either during Period I or Period II.
Results: More bacteremic episodes occurred while IS than while FG was being administered. The adjusted bacteremia incidence rate ratios (IRRs) associated with use of IS vs. FG were 2.92 (95% CI, 1.01 - 8.5) and 2.84 (95% CI 1.32 - 6.09) in Groups A and B, respectively. The adjusted bacteremia IRRs associated with receiving > 2,000 mg of i.v. Fe were 2.42 (95% CI 1.03 - 5.6) and 1.54 (95% CI 0.43 - 5.69) in Groups A and B, respectively. Use of catheters as hemodialysis access increased bacteremia risk in both groups.
Conclusions: Use of iron sucrose is associated with higher bacteremia rates than ferric gluconate. The potential association between the cumulative amount of i.v. Fe administered and bacteremia risk is unclear. Randomized clinical trials are needed to verify our findings.