New Horizons in Iron Deficiency Anaemia in Older Adults

Jennifer Kirsty Burton; Luke C. Yates; Lindsay Whyte; Edward Fitzsimons; David J. Stott


Age Ageing. 2020;49(3):309-318. 

In This Article

Abstract and Introduction


Iron deficiency anaemia (IDA) is common in older adults and associated with a range of adverse outcomes. Differentiating iron deficiency from other causes of anaemia is important to ensure appropriate investigations and treatment. It is possible to make the diagnosis reliably using simple blood tests. Clinical evaluation and assessment are required to help determine the underlying cause and to initiate appropriate investigations. IDA in men and post-menopausal females is most commonly due to occult gastrointestinal blood loss until proven otherwise, although there is a spectrum of underlying causative pathologies. Investigation decisions should take account of the wishes of the patient and their competing comorbidities, individualising the approach. Management involves supplementation using oral or intravenous (IV) iron then consideration of treatment of the underlying cause of deficiency. Future research areas are outlined including the role of Hepcidin and serum soluble transferrin receptor measurement, quantitative faecal immunochemical testing, alternative dosing regimens and the potential role of IV iron preparations.