Anemia in chronic renal failure is predominantly caused by diminished erythropoietin synthesis by diseased kidneys. While iron deficiency is often stated as a cause of anemia in chronic renal failure prior to end-stage renal disease, its relative contribution is debated. It is speculated that rather than frank ‘iron deficiency’, many patients with chronic renal failure may indeed have impaired utilization of iron. We analyzed 150 consecutive patients with chronic renal failure starting maintenance hemodialysis to determine the relationship between hematocrit, measures of renal function (blood urea nitrogen and serum creatinine concentration), and measures of iron availability (serum transferrin saturation, serum iron level and serum ferritin).From them 60 % were males and 405 females. We conclude that in patients with chronic renal failure starting uremia therapy, anemia does not correlate with any of the commonly measured indices of body iron stores. We infer that impaired utilization of iron may be a significant factor in the anemia of chronic renal failure.
Key words: anemia, chronic kidney disease, erythrocytes, hemoglobin, hematocrit, iron, ferritin, urea and creatinine