Iron deficiency affects up to 50% of heart failure patients, and is associated with poor quality of life, impaired exercise tolerance, and mortality independent of haematopoietic effects in this patient population. Iron absorption from oral iron preparations is generally poor, with slow and often inefficient iron repletion; moreover, up to 60% of patients experience gastrointestinal side effects. These problems may be exacerbated in heart failure due to decreased gastrointestinal absorption and poor compliance due to pill burden. Intravenous (i.v.) iron sucrose has consistently been shown to improve exercise capacity, cardiac function, symptom severity, and quality of life. Similar findings were observed recently for i.v. ferric carboxymaltose in patients with systolic heart failure and impaired left ventricular ejection fraction. I.v. iron therapy may be better tolerated than oral iron. Routine diagnosis and management of iron deficiency in patients with symptomatic heart failure regardless of anaemia status is advisable, and, based on current evidence, prompt intervention using i.v. iron therapy should now be considered.
Iron deficiency; chronic heart failure; elderly.