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Chronic iron deficiency increases the risk of a heart attack


Acute coronary syndrome risk of iron deficiency increased by 70 percent
Iron deficiency can lead to various complications, although there is apparently a connection with the occurrence of heart attacks and cardiac death. For example, the German Society for Cardiology (DGK) and citing a contribution from Hamburg cardiologists reports on the risk of cardiac death or heart attack in patients with acute coronary syndrome (heart attack or unstable angina pectoris) who suffer from iron deficiency European Cardiology Congress (ESC) in Barcelona.

After a heart attack or unstable angina, patients who are iron deficient at the same time "have a 70 percent increased risk of cardiovascular death or non-fatal heart attack within four years compared to those without iron deficiency" , reports the DGK. The iron deficiency therefore has a massive impact on the chances of survival for patients with acute coronary syndrome.

Relevance of iron deficiency in acute coronary syndrome
In their study, the researchers led by Dr. med. Sarina Schäfer from the University Heart Center Hamburg evaluated the data from 895 patients with acute coronary syndrome. Acute coronary syndrome refers to all acute phases of coronary artery disease (including heart attacks). The aim of the present study was to investigate the relevance of iron deficiency in acute coronary syndrome. The subjects were subjected to a cardiac catheter examination at the respective event and the iron status (ferritin and transferrin saturation) was determined when a blood sample was taken. This was followed by an average observation period of four years, the primary end points of which were cardiovascular death and the occurrence of non-fatal heart attacks.

Correcting iron deficiency could bring significant improvements
The evaluation of the data showed that an existing iron deficiency "is a strong and independent negative prognostic factor for patients with acute coronary syndrome", said Dr. Sarina Schafer. The European Society of Cardiology (ESC) already recommends "in its current guidelines on chronic heart failure the routine elevation of iron status and, in the presence of iron deficiency, intravenous therapy using iron carboxymaltosis," reports the DGK. Because iron deficiency is found in up to 50 percent of patients with heart failure. In addition, "current studies show that an effective correction of iron deficiency in these patients leads to a significant improvement in quality of life and symptoms," Dr. Schäfer cited by the DGK. (fp)

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