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BMJ Open. 2012 Oct 18;2(5). pii: e000998. doi: 10.1136/bmjopen-2012-000998. Print 2012.

Three-year follow-up of a randomised clinical trial of intravenous versus oral iron for anaemia in pregnancy.

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  • 1Department of Medicine and Clinical Haematology, Launceston General Hospital, Launceston, Tasmania, Australia.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

To date, there are no data available concerning the impact of iron therapy on the long-term well-being and health-related quality of life (HRQoL) in pregnancy.

OBJECTIVE:

To assess the long-term effect of iron therapy on HRQoL in pregnancy.

DESIGN:

This is a follow-up study conducted between January 2010 and January 2011 of an earlier randomised open-label clinical trial of intravenous and oral iron versus oral iron for pregnancy-related iron deficiency anaemia. We used a modified version of the SF-36 questionnaire together with the original prospective HRQoL data collected during and after pregnancy.

PARTICIPANTS AND INTERVENTIONS:

Of the original evaluable 183 pregnant Caucasian women randomised to receive oral iron or a single intravenous iron polymaltose infusion followed by oral iron maintenance, 126 women completed the follow-up HRQoL study.

METHODS:

The participants were followed up 4 weeks after treatment, predelivery and postdelivery for a median period of 32 months (range, 26-42) with a well-being and HRQoL questionnaire using a modified SF-36 QoL-survey and child growth charts as set by the Australasian Paediatric Endocrine Group (APEG).

RESULTS:

Patients who received intravenous iron demonstrated significantly higher haemoglobin and serum ferritin levels (p<0.001). There were strong associations between iron status and a number of the HRQoL parameters, with improved general health (p<0.001), improved vitality (physical energy) (p<0.001), less psychological downheartedness (p=0.005), less clinical depression (p=0.003) and overall improved mental health (p<0.001). The duration of breastfeeding was longer (p=0.046) in the intravenous iron group. The babies born in both groups recorded similarly on APEG growth chart assessments.

CONCLUSIONS:

Our data suggest that HRQoL is improved until after pregnancy in anaemic pregnant women by repletion of their iron stores during pregnancy. About 80% of the intravenous iron group showed a maintained normal ferritin until delivery with long-term benefits. Further studies to confirm these findings are warranted.

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