Iron deficiency: definition and diagnosis
Article first published online: 19 OCT 2011
1989 Association for the Publication of the Journal of Internal Medicine
Journal of Internal Medicine
Volume 226, Issue 5, pages 349–355, November 1989
How to Cite
COOK, J. D. and SKIKNE, B. S. (1989), Iron deficiency: definition and diagnosis. Journal of Internal Medicine, 226: 349–355. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2796.1989.tb01408.x
- Issue published online: 19 OCT 2011
- Article first published online: 19 OCT 2011
- Received 16 June 1989, Accepted 20 June 1989.
- iron deficiency;
- serum ferritin;
- serum transferrin receptor
Abstract Cook JD, Skikne BS (Division of Hematology. Department of Medicine. Kansas University Medical Center, Kansas City, KS 66103, USA). Iron deficiency: definition and diagnosis.
There has been a continuous refinement over the past several decades of methods to detect iron deficiency and assess its magnitude. The optimal combination of measurements differs for clinical and epidemiological assessment. Clinically, the major problem is to distinguish true iron deficiency from other causes of iron-deficient erythropoiesis, such as the anaemia of chronic disease. Epidemiologically, techniques that provide quantified estimates of body iron are preferable. For both purposes, the serum ferritin is the focal point of the laboratory detection of iron deficiency. Serum ferritin measurements provide a reliable index of body iron stores in healthy individuals, a cost-effective method of screening for iron deficiency, and a useful alternative to bone marrow examinations in the evaluation of anaemic patients. Preliminary studies indicate that measurement of the serum transferrin receptor may be the most reliable way to assess deficits in tissue iron supply.