Rationale: Iron deficiency, in the absence of anemia, is common in patients with idiopathic and heritable pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH) and is associated with a worse clinical outcome. Oral iron absorption may be impeded by elevated circulating hepcidin concentrations. The safety and benefit of parenteral iron replacement in this patient population is unclear. Objectives: To evaluate the safety and efficacy of parenteral iron replacement in PAH. Methods: In two randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled 12-week crossover studies, 39 patients in Europe received a single infusion of ferric carboxymaltose (Ferinject) (1,000 mg or 15 mg/kg if weight <66.7 kg) or saline as placebo, and 17 patients in China received iron dextran (Cosmofer) (20 mg iron/kg body weight) or saline placebo. All patients had idiopathic or heritable PAH and iron deficiency at entry as defined by a serum ferritin <37 μg/L or iron <10.3 μmol/L or transferrin saturations <16.4%. Results: Both iron treatments were well tolerated and improved iron status. Analyzed separately and combined, there was no effect on any measure of exercise capacity (using cardiopulmonary exercise testing or 6-minute walk test) or cardiopulmonary hemodynamics, as assessed by right heart catheterization, cardiac magnetic resonance, or plasma NT-proBNP (N-terminal-pro hormone brain natriuretic peptide) at 12 weeks. Conclusions: Iron repletion by administration of a slow-release iron preparation as a single infusion to patients with PAH with iron deficiency without overt anemia was well tolerated but provided no significant clinical benefit at 12 weeks. Clinical trial registered with ClinicalTrials.gov (NCT01447628).
Keywords: exercise capacity; ferric carboxymaltose; iron; iron dextran; pulmonary arterial hypertension.