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Audit of the prevalence and investigation of iron deficiency anaemia in patients with heart failure in hospital practice

Abstract

Purpose of the study Iron deficiency anaemia (IDA) is associated with increased morbidity and mortality in heart failure patients. The aim of our audit was to evaluate the current practice in diagnosis and assessment of IDA in patients admitted with heart failure.

Study design We conducted a retrospective audit of patients admitted to our hospital between January 2017 and June 2017 with a diagnosis of heart failure, and obtained data regarding each patient’s demographics and anaemic status. We also conducted a qualitative survey to assess healthcare professionals’ ability to diagnose IDA, and their knowledge of iron replacement in heart failure patients.

Results Our audit identified 218 heart failure patients, nearly two-thirds (n=138, 63.3%) of which were anaemic. Of the 138 anaemic patients, only 40 had a full haematinic screen compared with 98 who had incomplete investigations (29% vs 71%, p=0.007). Iron studies were the most commonly performed haematinic investigation (n=87, 63%), and over half of these patients were iron deficient (n=49, 56.3%). Only 12 (24.5%) iron deficient patients were prescribed oral iron therapy, while 37 (75.5%) were left without iron replacement (X2=12.8, p=0.0003). Our survey demonstrated a lack of awareness among healthcare professionals with only 19.7% of participants being able to correctly define anaemia and 9.1% being aware of guidelines regarding treatment of IDA.

Conclusion Many patients admitted to hospital with heart failure also have a concomitant diagnosis of anaemia. The aetiology of the underlying anaemia is often poorly investigated, and where IDA is identified it is poorly treated.

  • anaemia
  • Iron deficiency anaemia (IDA)
  • heart failure
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