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Folia Med (Plovdiv). 1998;40(4):65-70.

Erythrocyte ferritin levels in chronic renal failure patients.

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Department of Radiology, Higher Medical Institute, Plovdiv, Bulgaria.


The authors studied the level of erythrocyte ferritin and its importance as a marker of iron metabolism in renal anemia patients.


We studied 33 chronic renal failure patients--12 men and 21 women, aged 33-72 years. Hemoglobin levels, erythrocyte counts, hematocrit, mean corpuscular hemoglobin, serum creatinine, iron and ferritin in serum and erythrocytes were measured on a regular basis throughout the study period employing the monoclonal IRMA "Micromedic" kit.


Serum iron levels were significantly lower in first degree chronic renal failure (CRF) patients (11.07 +/- 1.54 mmol/l) as compared with the controls (P < 0.01) whereas serum (91.10 +/- 4.00 ng/ml) and erythrocyte (0.83 +/- 0.08 ng/g Hb) ferritin levels were within normal limits. There was a moderately positive correlation (r = 0.37) between serum and erythrocyte ferritin levels. In second and third degree CRF patients the serum iron (7.82 +/- 0.72 mmol/l), serum ferritin (77.60 +/- 3.24 ng/ml) and erythrocyte (0.71 +/- 0.06 ng/g Hb) ferritin levels were significantly lower as compared with those of first degree CRF patients. In the hemodialysis patients erythrocyte ferritin levels showed a tendency towards increase as compared with those in second and third degree CRF patients (P < 0.05). There was a moderately negative correlation (r = -0.44) between serum iron and erythrocyte ferritin levels in this group of patients.


1. Erythrocyte ferritin levels can be useful in the complex diagnostic assessment of the anemic syndrome in CRF patients. 2. Erythrocyte ferritin is a reliable indicator of iron overload in hemodialysis patients. 3. Erythrocyte ferritin gives no advantage in the evaluation of iron metabolism of medically treated CRF patients.

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