Pumping iron: revisiting risks, benefits and strategies in treatment of iron deficiency in end-stage renal disease

Clin Nephrol. 2012 Mar;77(3):188-94. doi: 10.5414/cn107266.


Iron deficiency is a common cause of anemia in patients with end stage renal disease (ESRD). Intravenous iron administration, especially in those requiring treatment with erythropoiesis stimulating agents (ESA) is an essential component of the management of anemia in ESRD patients. Iron improves hemoglobin, reduces ESA dose requirement and also has nonerythropoietic effects including improvement in physical performance, cognition and amelioration of restless leg syndrome. However, iron can promote oxidative stress, cause endothelial dysfunction, inflammation and tissue injury, and has a potential to cause progression of both CKD and cardiovascular disease. In this review, we discuss the benefits and risks associated with i.v. iron and the practical aspects of iron administration that can minimize the complications related to iron therapy in ESRD.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Anemia, Iron-Deficiency / blood
  • Anemia, Iron-Deficiency / drug therapy*
  • Anemia, Iron-Deficiency / etiology
  • Chemistry, Pharmaceutical
  • Hematinics / administration & dosage*
  • Hematinics / adverse effects
  • Humans
  • Infusions, Intravenous
  • Kidney Failure, Chronic / blood
  • Kidney Failure, Chronic / complications
  • Kidney Failure, Chronic / therapy*
  • Patient Selection
  • Renal Dialysis* / adverse effects
  • Risk Assessment
  • Risk Factors
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Hematinics