Q/How best to diagnose irondeficiency anemia in patients with inflammatory disease?

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Abstract

EVIDENCE-BASED ANSWER

A/THE SERUM FERRITIN LEVEL is the most sensitive and specific initial laboratory test for iron-deficiency anemia (IDA) in patients with inflammation. Serum ferritin levels <45 ng/dL confirm IDA, and levels of ≥100 ng/dL essentially rule it out (strength of recommendation [SOR]: B, systematic review of prospective validating cohort studies with heterogeneity).

EVIDENCE-BASED ANSWER

For patients with intermediate serum ferritin levels (45-99 ng/dL), the soluble transferrin receptor (sTfR) level and the sTfR-ferritin index (ratio of sTfR to log ferritin) are highly sensitive and specific. An sTfR-ferritin index of ≥1.5 is diagnostic of IDA, even in the presence of acute or chronic inflammation (SOR: B, systematic review of prospective validating cohort studies that lacked standardized reference values).

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