Iron Deficiency Not Associated with Pulmonary Hypertension, Study Finds

Özge Özkaya, PhD avatar

by Özge Özkaya, PhD |

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Iron deficiency and PH

Iron deficiency or low iron levels do not seem to be associated with pulmonary hypertension (PH), a study published in the scientific journal Plos One suggests.

In the study titled “Relationship of Iron Deficiency and Serum Ferritin Levels with Pulmonary Hypertension: The Jackson Heart Study,” scientists analyzed the prevalence of PH among people in the Jackson Heart Study, a population-based longitudinal study of heart disease in African-Americans from Jackson, Mississippi.

To assess whether iron deficiency is associated with PH, the team of researchers, led by Dr. Gaurav Choudhary of the Vascular Research Laboratory at Providence VA Medical Center, and the Department of Medicine at the Alpert Medical School of Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island analyzed data on iron deficiency and PH on 2,800 people enrolled in the Jackson Heart Study.

The researchers defined iron deficiency as blood iron levels lower than 15 ng/mL for women and lower than 30 ng/mL for men. They compared the prevalence of PH in people with iron deficiency and those without.

The team found that 147 people (5.2% of all those included in the study) had PH and that 140 people (5% of all those included in the study) had iron deficiency. However, only four of the people analyzed had both pulmonary hypertension and iron deficiency.

When researchers analyzed the results adjusting the data for the age and sex of the participants, they saw that there was no evidence of an association between PH and iron deficiency.

“The prevalence of PH was similar in iron-deficient and non-iron deficient subjects,” the authors wrote in their report. “There was no evidence of association between ferritin (or serum iron) levels and PH.”

Iron deficiency is often seen in people with idiopathic pulmonary arterial hypertension (IPAH). But it was not known whether iron deficiency was also associated with pulmonary hypertension in the general population. This study suggests that such an association does not exist.

The Jackson Heart Study is the largest, single-site epidemiologic study investigating cardiovascular diseases among African-Americans. It investigates genetic factors linked to conditions such as high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, and diabetes, with the eventual goal of developing new treatments.