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Iron Deficiency Anemia Prevalence at First Stroke or Transient Ischemic Attack

  • Melanie D. Dubyk (a1), Robert T. Card (a2), Susan J. Whiting (a1), Carol A. J. Boyle (a3) (a4), Stanley H. Zlotkin (a5) and Phyllis G. Paterson (a1)...



Iron deficiency anemia (IDA) has been implicated in the etiology of transient ischemic attack and ischemic stroke. This study aimed to: 1) document IDA prevalence in patients ≥ 65 years of age admitted to hospital with transient ischemic attack or first ischemic stroke, and 2) investigate dietary intake as a predictor of iron status.


Ninety-four patients were enrolled. An algorithm containing values for hemoglobin, ferritin, total iron binding capacity, transferrin saturation, and serum transferrin receptor measured at admission was used to identify IDA. Usual dietary intake was assessed with the Clue II food frequency questionnaire.


Prevalence estimates were 6.4% for IDA, 2.1% for iron deficiency without anemia, and 6.4% for anemia from other causes. IDA prevalence was significantly higher than published National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey III (NHANES III) estimates for gender-specific age groups ≥ 70 years (One-Sample Proportion Test; males p = 0.038 [n= 37]; females p = 0.002 [n=44]). A comparison of IDA prevalence against selected controls from the NHANES III database yielded an odds ratio (OR) of 6.3, 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.8 to 53.7, which was not statistically significant (Fisher's Exact Test; n=94; p = 0.118). Multivariate linear regression analysis of dietary intake with indicators of iron status (n=58) revealed only iron supplements (p = 0.013) and heme iron intake (p = 0.038) as negative predictors of total iron binding capacity (p<0.05).


These findings support the initiation of a prospective case control study to investigate IDA as a risk factor for ischemic stroke in elderly patients.

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Corresponding author

College of Pharmacy and Nutrition, University of Saskatchewan, 110 Science Place, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, S7N 5C9, Canada.


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