Bone marrow iron depletion is common in patients with coronary artery disease

Ewa A. Jankowska, Katarzyna Wojtas, Monika Kasztura, Grzegorz Mazur, Aleksandra Butrym, Elzbieta Kalicinska, Ilona Rybinska, Jacek Skiba, Stephan Von Haehling, Wolfram Doehner, Stefan D. Anker, Waldemar Banasiak, John G F Cleland, Piotr Ponikowski

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background/objectives: Iron deficiency (ID) may be an important, treatable co-morbidity complicating cardiovascular diseases, but considerable uncertainty exists about the diagnostic accuracy of blood tests. Accordingly, we investigated the relationship between blood tests for ID and iron stores in bone marrow aspirates, the diagnostic gold-standard for ID, in patients with stable coronary artery disease (CAD). Methods: Bone marrow aspirates were obtained from 65 patients with stable CAD undergoing cardiac surgery and 10 healthy controls. ID was defined as depleted extracellular iron stores (0-1 grade according to Gale scale) accompanied by ≤ 10% of erythroblasts containing iron. Results: Bone marrow ID was found in 31 (48%) patients with CAD but in none of the controls (p <0.01). Amongst patients with CAD, ID was present in 10 of 16 (63%) with and 21 of 49 (43%) without anaemia (p = 0.17). The clinical profiles of patients with and without ID were similar. Of circulating biomarkers of ID, serum soluble transferrin receptor had the strongest association with bone marrow ID (area under curve: 0.876 ± 0.048, 95% confidence interval: 0.762-0.948, for cut-off of ≥ 1.32 mg/L-sensitivity: 67%, specificity: 97%). Conclusions: Almost half of patients with stable CAD have profound bone marrow iron depletion that can be accurately assessed non-invasively using serum soluble transferrin receptor.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)517-522
Number of pages6
JournalInternational Journal of Cardiology
Issue numberC
Publication statusPublished - 2015


  • Bone marrow
  • Coronary artery disease
  • Iron deficiency
  • Soluble transferrin receptor

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
  • Medicine(all)


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