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Iron Deficiency Increases Fatigue Risk and Poor Functional Recovery in Elderly Hospitalized Patients, Study Finds

A recent study has reported that iron deficiency increases risk of fatigue and poor functional recovery among the elderly hospitalized patients.

Photo: Elderly Hospitalized Patient | InStyleHealth

The study included 224 eligible patients with ages 65 – 95 years old; of which 67% were women, who were admitted into a geriatric acute care ward.

The serum ferritin, iron, and transferrin, along with blood hemoglobin, were measured, and current use of iron supplements was also taken into account. All subjects have undergone geriatric assessment during hospital admission.

There were 91 participants or 41% had iron deficiency, which is defined in this study as serum ferritin <30 ng/L and transferrin saturation (TSAT) <16%. The baseline median scores in the fatigue severity scale were significantly higher among those with reported iron deficiency; the same was true for the frail simple scale.

Both subgroups of patients with and without iron deficiency saw significant improvements in measures of functional status, including handgrip strength, isometric knee extension strength, and Barthel Index scores during their hospital stay. Whereas within-group changes were significant, between-group comparison came out as not significant.

There were 51 iron-deficient subjects who received iron supplementation during their hospital stay, majority of whom (96%) were given oral supplements; while two needed intravenous iron. 

For those who had taken supplements appeared to have significantly better isometric knee extension strength at discharge than comparators without supplementation. Although there was no other parameter was affected.

Utilizing the multiple regression analysis, it confirmed that the iron deficiency was a significant and independent correlated of fatigue during hospital admission and of changes in Barthel Index scores over the duration of hospitalization of the patients. For further details of this study, click here.


Source: Eur J Clin Nutr 2021;75:456-463

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