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UK study into whether iron supplements reduce heart failure admission


UK researchers are to investigate whether iron supplement injections could ease the disabling symptoms of heart failure.

The UK-wide study could determine if iron supplements can reduce hospitalisation in heart failure patients, and improve their ability to exercise without becoming breathless and fatigued.

“Any treatment that can reduce the frequency of heart failure admissions could have significant benefits”

Ian Ford

The IRONMAN trial, funded by a £1.7m grant from the British Heart Foundation, was officially launched today at the British Cardiovascular Society Conference in Manchester.

The trial, which is recruiting patients who suffer from chronic heart failure and iron deficiency, is being co-ordinated by the University of Glasgow and Greater Glasgow and Clyde Health Board. Those behind the research note that many heart failure patients have low levels of usable iron in the blood, and this is associated with worse symptoms.

Previous smaller studies have shown that intravenous iron can be beneficial to patients with heart failure in the short term, making them feel better and increasing exercise capacity.

The new study is looking at the effect of iron supplement injections on life expectancy and hospitalisation over a longer period in a much larger patient group.

The researchers are aiming to recruit around 1,300 patients over two years across over 50 UK sites.

Professor Ian Ford, study director from the University of Glasgow, said: ‘’Emergency admission to hospital is a common feature of heart failure and places significant burdens on the health services.

British Heart Foundation

Professor Peter Weissberg

Peter Weissberg

“Any treatment that can reduce the frequency of heart failure admissions could have significant benefits for patients and could help to reduce NHS costs,’ he said.’

Professor Peter Weissberg, medical director at the British Heart Foundation, added: “This trial offers hope for a new and simple treatment that might reduce the debilitating symptoms of heart failure.

“Only by undertaking a properly conducted clinical trial such as this will we be able to determine whether iron really has lasting beneficial effects for patients in heart failure,” he said.


Readers' comments (8)

  • michael stone

    It is certainly worth the trial - heart failure places 'significant burdens' on the patients, as well as on the hospitals.

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  • Thank you stone. We do know about heart failure and base our practice on recent evidence based research! We can ready!

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  • Sorry, predictive text! That should obviously have been 'read'!

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  • michael stone

    Anonymous 7 June, 2016 0:09 am

    Thank you, I 'know about heart failure' because I watched my dad die from it: he 'knew about it' as well, without needing to have read the EBM about heart failure, because he was experiencing it.

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  • M. Stone, you believe you are qualified to treat and comment on large cohorts of patients with this pathology because of one previous observational experience? I wonder, if in your view, you believe there is any need of healthcare professions at all. As said before this is not a psychological help column. We also have specialist professional services in the NHS to provide such therapies.

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  • michael stone

    No, I'm pointing out that understanding how to treat an illness, is not the same things as the individual patient's experience of the illness - my original comment simply drew attention to the mention of admission being 'burdensome on hospitals' but the hospitals are there to help individual patients.

    I don't write about how to treat illnesses: that is a clinical thing, and should ideally be EBM. I write about issues involving 'consent' for treatment, and it replacement of 'best interests' for incapacitous patients, and about 'aligning perspectives' - you do not need to know how to treat illnesses, in order to analyse and write about those things (many of which are ;legal, and not clinical, anyway)..

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  • Stone. Once again you show you have no idea what you are talking about!

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  • michael stone

    Anonymous 8 June, 2016 4:43 pm

    Well, other people, think I do know what I'm talking about - such as Consultant who has just said so:

    'This type of analysis is most welcome and I agree with Stone’s rapid response, that ultimately the patient gets to make the final decision, and that those decisions take precedence over everything. It is not just the inclusion of patient's values and beliefs in shared decision making within the construct of evidence based medicine. So the term shared decision making is not correct when a human rights caveat is applied to clinical guidelines. ...'

    My earlier piece is at:

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