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, 22 (35), 7908-25

Anemia and Iron Deficiency in Gastrointestinal and Liver Conditions


Anemia and Iron Deficiency in Gastrointestinal and Liver Conditions

Jürgen Stein et al. World J Gastroenterol.


Iron deficiency anemia (IDA) is associated with a number of pathological gastrointestinal conditions other than inflammatory bowel disease, and also with liver disorders. Different factors such as chronic bleeding, malabsorption and inflammation may contribute to IDA. Although patients with symptoms of anemia are frequently referred to gastroenterologists, the approach to diagnosis and selection of treatment as well as follow-up measures is not standardized and suboptimal. Iron deficiency, even without anemia, can substantially impact physical and cognitive function and reduce quality of life. Therefore, regular iron status assessment and awareness of the clinical consequences of impaired iron status are critical. While the range of options for treatment of IDA is increasing due to the availability of effective and well-tolerated parenteral iron preparations, a comprehensive overview of IDA and its therapy in patients with gastrointestinal conditions is currently lacking. Furthermore, definitions and assessment of iron status lack harmonization and there is a paucity of expert guidelines on this topic. This review summarizes current thinking concerning IDA as a common co-morbidity in specific gastrointestinal and liver disorders, and thus encourages a more unified treatment approach to anemia and iron deficiency, while offering gastroenterologists guidance on treatment options for IDA in everyday clinical practice.

Keywords: Bariatric surgery; Celiac disease; Chronic hepatitis; Gastritis; Gastrointestinal bleeding; Gastrointestinal neoplasm; Infection; Iron deficiency anemia; Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease; Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs.

Conflict of interest statement

Conflict-of-interest statement: No potential conflicts of interest relevant to this article were reported.


Figure 1
Figure 1
Pathogenic mechanisms proposed to be involved in the association of iron deficiency anemia and Helicobacter pylori infection[63].
Figure 2
Figure 2
Role of iron in essential cellular functions[178].
Figure 3
Figure 3
Suggested approach for the assessment and treatment of iron deficiency/iron deficiency anemia in clinical practice. 1In patients with inflammation, ferritin levels < 100 ng/mL should be considered as iron-deficient; 2Hb increase < 2 g/dL in 4 wk. Stein et al[6]. CHr: Hemoglobin content of reticulocytes; CRP: C-reactive protein; ESA: Erythropoiesis-stimulating agent; Hb: Hemoglobin; %HYPO: Percent hypochromic red blood cells; ID: Iron deficiency; IDA: Iron deficiency anemia; TSAT: Transferrin saturation.

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