SAN DIEGO—Iron deficiency in the absence of anemia is associated with intradialytic hypotension (IDH), a finding that suggests iron has a role beyond erythropoiesis, according to Japanese study findings presented at Kidney Week 2012.

Kenichiro Koitabashi, MD, and collaborators at St. Luke’s International Hospital in Tokyo analyzed clinical and biochemical parameters of 99 patients on maintenance hemodialysis (HD). The researchers defined IDH as a decrease in systolic blood pressure of 30 mm Hg or greater associated with clinical events and need for nursing interventions.

Of the 99 patients, 44 (44.4%) were diagnosed with IDH. These patients had a mean age of 66 years. The mean hemoglobin level was 10.7 g/dL, mean blood ferritin level was 39.8 ng/mL, and transferrin saturation (TSAT) was 18.1%. In adjusted analyses, a TSAT below 20% was independently associated with a threefold increased risk of IDH compared with higher TSAT values.

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“Given the effects of IDH on HD patients, our study underscores the importance of treating iron deficiency even without the presence of anemia,” the investigators concluded.