Clinical outcomes of intravenous iron therapy in patients with heart failure and iron deficiency: Meta-analysis and trial sequential analysis of randomized clinical trials

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Journal of cardiology


BACKGROUND: Iron deficiency in patients with heart failure (HF) is underdiagnosed and undertreated. The role of intravenous (IV) iron is well-established to improve quality of life measures. Emerging evidence also supports its role in preventing cardiovascular events in patients with HF.

METHODOLOGY: We conducted a literature search of multiple electronic databases. Randomized controlled trials that compared IV iron to usual care among patients with HF and reported cardiovascular (CV) outcomes were included. Primary outcome was the composite of first heart failure hospitalization (HFH) or CV death. Secondary outcomes included HFH (first or recurrent), CV death, all-cause mortality, hospitalization for any cause, gastrointestinal (GI) side effects, or any infection. We performed trial sequential and cumulative meta-analyses to evaluate the effect of IV iron on the primary endpoint, and on HFH.

RESULTS: Nine trials enrolling 3337 patients were included. Adding IV iron to usual care significantly reduced the risk of first HFH or CV death [risk ratio (RR) 0.84; 95 % confidence interval (CI) 0.75-0.93; I(2) = 0 %; number needed to treat (NNT) 18], which was primarily driven by a reduction in the risk of HFH of 25 %. IV iron also reduced the risk of the composite of hospitalization for any cause or death (RR 0.92; 95 % CI 0.85-0.99; I(2) = 0 %; NNT 19). There was no significant difference in the risk of CV death, all-cause mortality, adverse GI events, or any infection among patients receiving IV iron compared to usual care. The observed benefits of IV iron were directionally consistent across trials and crossed both the statistical and trial sequential boundaries of benefit.

CONCLUSION: In patients with HF and iron deficiency, the addition of IV iron to usual care reduces the risk of HFH without affecting the risk of CV or all-cause mortality.

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ePub ahead of print