M. Boele van Hensbroek
- Improved method for assessing iron stores in the bone marrow
- Journal of clinical pathology
- Volume | Issue number
- 62 | 8
- Pages (from-to)
- Document type
- Faculty of Medicine (AMC-UvA)
BACKGROUND: Bone marrow iron microscopy has been the "gold standard" method of assessing iron deficiency. However, the commonly used method of grading marrow iron remains highly subjective.
AIM: To improve the bone marrow grading method by developing a detailed protocol that assesses iron in fragments, in macrophages around fragments and in erythroblasts.
METHODS: A descriptive study of marrow aspirates of 303 children (aged 6-60 months) with severe anaemia and 22 controls (children undergoing elective surgery) was conducted at hospitals in southern Malawi (2002-04).
RESULTS: Using an intensive marrow iron grading method, 22% and 39% of cases and controls had deficient iron stores, and 40% and 46% had functional iron deficiency, respectively. Further evaluation of the iron status classification by the intensive method showed that functional iron deficiency was associated with significantly increased C-reactive protein concentrations (126.7 (85.6) mg/l), and iron stores deficiency with significantly increased soluble transferrin receptor concentrations (21.7 (12.5) mug/ml).
CONCLUSIONS: Iron assessment can be greatly improved by a more intense marrow examination. This provides a useful iron status classification which is of particular importance in areas where there is a high rate of inflammatory conditions.
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