The efficacy of intravenous iron for treatment of anemia before cardiac surgery: An updated systematic review and meta-analysis with trial sequential analysis

Department of Anesthesiology, West China Hospital, Sichuan University, Chengdu, 610041, China. Department of Anesthesiology, West China Hospital, Sichuan University, Chengdu, 610041, China.

Journal of Cardiothoracic Surgery. 2023;18(1):16
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BACKGROUND Preoperative anemia is common in patients undergoing cardiac surgery with various etiologies, among which iron deficiency is the leading cause. However, the benefit of intravenous (IV) iron for the treatment of anemia before cardiac surgery is uncertain. This updated meta-analysis aimed to evaluate the efficacy of IV iron in adult cardiac surgery patients with preoperative anemia. METHODS This review was conducted according to Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA) guidelines. We searched Embase, PubMed and the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials to identify eligible randomized controlled trials (RCTs) and observational studies. Quality was assessed using the Cochrane Collaboration risk of bias tool and Newcastle-Ottawa scale, and the strength of evidence was assessed using the Grading of Recommendations, Assessment, Development and Evaluations (GRADE) criteria. Trial sequential analysis was performed on the primary outcome (transfusion rate) to confirm whether firm evidence was reached. RESULTS Six RCTs (936 patients) and 5 observational studies (1350 patients) were included in this meta-analysis. The IV iron group and the control group were comparable in terms of transfusion rate [55.1% vs 60.9%, risk ratio (RR) = 0.91, 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.81-1.03, P = 0.13, low quality]. There were no significant differences in units transfused per patient, ICU stay and hospital length of stay between the two groups. And pooled data showed a benefit of IV iron compared to the control group on mortality (2.76% vs 3.75%, RR = 0.58, 95% CI 0.36-0.95, P = 0.03, moderate quality) and no mortality reduction existed when including only RCTs. CONCLUSIONS This meta-analysis suggested that IV iron treatment for patients with anemia before cardiac surgery did not reduce the transfusion requirement (low quality), but it was associated with decreased mortality (moderate quality). More large-scale, high-quality randomized clinical trials are warranted to confirm or refute our findings. PROSPERO registry reference: CRD42022331875.
Study details
Study Design : Systematic Review
Language : eng
Credits : Bibliographic data from MEDLINE®/PubMed®, a database of the U.S. National Library of Medicine