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Journal of Blood Transfusion
Volume 2015 (2015), Article ID 720389, 5 pages
Research Article

Blood Transfusion, Serum Ferritin, and Iron in Hemodialysis Patients in Africa

1Centre National de Transfusion Sanguine (CNTS), Libreville, Gabon
2Service d’Anesthésie-Réanimation du Centre Hospitalier Universitaire de Libreville, Libreville, Gabon
3Centre National d’Hémodialyse de Libreville, Libreville, Gabon
4Centre Hospitalier Universitaire d’Angondjè, Libreville, Gabon
5Unité de Recherche et de Diagnostic Spécialisé/Laboratoire National de Santé Publique (URDS/LNSP), Libreville, Gabon

Received 13 October 2014; Revised 8 December 2014; Accepted 11 December 2014

Academic Editor: Rajendra Chaudhary

Copyright © 2015 Leonard Kouegnigan Rerambiah et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Background and Objectives. There is no data analyzing the outcome of blood transfusions and oral iron therapy in patients with kidneys failure in sub-Saharan Africa. The present study aimed to fill that gap and assess the value of ferritin in the diagnosis of iron overload and deficiency. Design. From January to February 2012, we prospectively studied 85 hemodialysis patients (78% of males and 22% of females aged 20 to 79 years) attending the Gabonese National Hemodialysis Centre. Results. Correlation studies showed (a) a strong positive linear relationship between the number of blood transfusions and high serum ferritin in hemodialysis patient (Spearman ; value: 0.0001); (b) a weak association between the number of blood transfusions and serum iron concentrations (Spearman ; value: 0.04); (c) a weak association between serum ferritin and serum iron (Spearman ; value: 0.003). Also, the strength of agreement beyond chance between the levels of ferritin and iron in the serum was poor (). The prevalence of iron overload was 10.6%, whereas the prevalence of iron deficiency was 2.3%, comparing (1) patients with a maximum of one transfusion not on iron therapy; (2) patients with a maximum of one transfusion on iron therapy; (3) polytransfused patients not on iron therapy; and (4) polytransfused patients on oral iron therapy. The “Kruskal-Wallis test” showed that ferritin levels varied significantly between the groups ( value: 0.0001). Conclusion. Serum ferritin is not reliable as a marker of iron overload. For patients undergoing regular transfusion we recommend routine serum ferritin measurement and yearly measurement of LIC.