Iron Deficiency in Heart Failure: to Treat or Not to Treat?

  • Michael PopeEmail author
  • Paul R. Kalra
Heart Failure (W Tang, Section Editor)
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Topical Collection on Heart Failure


Purpose of review

This review will highlight the frequency and prognostic importance of iron deficiency in patients with chronic heart failure. An overview of the evidence surrounding the use of both oral and intravenous iron will be presented together with discussion around what further data are required to establish what is the optimal long-term treatment strategy.

Recent findings

Several recent randomised controlled studies have suggested that intravenous iron therapy in iron deficient patients with chronic heart failure and reduced ejection fraction can improve symptoms and quality of life, at least in the short term. There is no evidence of benefit from oral iron.


Iron deficiency is common in patients with chronic heart failure and is associated with a worse prognosis. Whilst oral iron therapy has been shown to be of no benefit, randomised controlled trials suggest significant improvement in symptoms and quality of life with intravenous iron treatment over 6–12 months. Data are lacking on long-term efficacy, safety and impact on hard outcomes such as death and hospitalisation. Four large trials are currently recruiting patients and will provide definitive answers to these outstanding questions.


Iron Iron deficiency Heart failure Intravenous iron 


Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Human and Animal Rights and Informed Consent

This article does not contain any studies with human or animal subjects performed by any of the authors.

References and Recommended Reading

Papers of particular interest, published recently, have been highlighted as: • Of importance •• Of major importance

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Cardiology, John Radcliffe HospitalOxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation TrustOxfordUK
  2. 2.Portsmouth Hospitals NHS TrustPortsmouthUK

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