Department of Blood Group Serology and Transfusion Medicine, Medical University of Graz, 8036 Graz, Austria. Laboratory of the OGK, Friedrichgasse 18, 8010 Graz, Austria. Institute for Medical Informatics, Statistics and Documentation, Medical University of Graz, 8036 Graz, Austria. Clinical Institute of Medical and Chemical Laboratory Diagnostics, University Hospital Graz, 8036 Graz, Austria. Division of Endocrinology and Diabetology, Medical University of Graz, 8036 Graz, Austria.
Background: Besides anemia, iron deficiency may cause more subtle symptoms, including the restless legs syndrome (RLS), the chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) or sleeping disorders. Objective: The aim of this pre-planned secondary analysis of the IronWoMan randomized controlled trial (RCT) was to compare the frequency and severity of symptoms associated with iron deficiency before and after (intravenous or oral) iron supplementation
in iron deficient blood donors. METHODS/DESIGN Prospective, randomized, controlled, single-centre trial. (ClinicalTrials.gov: NCT01787526). SETTING Tertiary care center in Graz, Austria. PARTICIPANTS 176 (138 female and 38 male) whole-blood and platelet apheresis donors aged ≥ 18 and ≤ 65 years with iron deficiency (ferritin ≤ 30ng/mL at the time of blood donation). INTERVENTIONS Intravenous iron (1 g ferric carboxymaltose, n = 86) or oral iron supplementation (10 g iron fumarate, 100 capsules, n = 90). MEASUREMENTS Clinical symptoms were evaluated by a survey before iron therapy (visit 0, V0) and after 8-12 weeks (visit 1, V1), including questions about symptoms of restless legs syndrome (RLS), chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS), sleeping disorders, quality of life and symptoms like headaches, dyspnoea, dizziness, palpitations, pica and trophic changes in fingernails or hair. RESULTS We found a significant improvement in the severity of symptoms for RLS, fatigue and sleep quality (p < 0.001). Furthermore, a significant decrease in headaches, dyspnoea, dizziness and palpitations was reported (p < 0.05). There was no difference between the type of iron supplementation (intravenous versus oral) and clinical outcome data. CONCLUSION Iron supplementation in iron-deficient blood donors may be an effective strategy to improve symptoms related to iron deficiency and the wellbeing of blood donors.