Diagnosis and treatment of iron deficiency in patients with heart failure: expert position paper from French cardiologists

Arch Cardiovasc Dis. 2014 Oct;107(10):563-71. doi: 10.1016/j.acvd.2014.07.049. Epub 2014 Sep 17.


The prevalence of iron deficiency is high -even in the absence of anaemia- in patients with chronic heart failure (HF). Although iron deficiency is easily diagnosed with two biomarkers (serum ferritin and transferrin saturation), it is underdiagnosed in patients with HF. Iron is not only necessary for red blood cells, but also for cells in tissues with high-energy demands (heart, muscle, brain). Even before the onset of anaemia, HF patients with iron deficiency have decreased physical and cognitive performances and a poorer quality of life. Moreover, iron deficiency is a risk factor, independent of anaemia, of unfavourable outcome (death or heart transplantation) in patients with chronic HF. Several randomized controlled studies have shown improvement in exercise capacity, New York Heart Association functional class and quality of life after correction of iron deficiency. The results of these clinical trials, which are supported by European guidelines, suggest considering iron deficiency in HF as a possible therapeutic target.

Keywords: Carence martiale; Coefficient de saturation de la transferrine; Fer injectable; Ferritine sérique; Heart failure; Insuffisance cardiaque; Intravenous iron; Iron deficiency; Serum ferritin; Transferrin saturation.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Anemia, Iron-Deficiency* / complications
  • Anemia, Iron-Deficiency* / diagnosis
  • Anemia, Iron-Deficiency* / therapy
  • Biomarkers / blood*
  • Disease Management*
  • France
  • Heart Failure / complications*
  • Heart Failure / therapy
  • Humans
  • Practice Guidelines as Topic*


  • Biomarkers