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Diagnosis of iron deficiency in chronic kidney disease

Jeffrey S Berns, MD
Section Editor
Thomas A Golper, MD
Deputy Editor
Alice M Sheridan, MD


Anemia is common among patients with chronic kidney disease (CKD), including those on dialysis. Anemia underlies many of the symptoms associated with reduced kidney function and is associated with increased mortality and hospitalizations [1-4]. Iron deficiency is the most common reversible cause of anemia among such patients.

This topic reviews methods to diagnose iron deficiency in individuals with CKD. The treatment of iron deficiency in nondialysis CKD, peritoneal dialysis, and hemodialysis patients is discussed elsewhere. (See "Treatment of iron deficiency in nondialysis chronic kidney disease (CKD) patients" and "Treatment of iron deficiency in peritoneal dialysis patients" and "Treatment of iron deficiency in hemodialysis patients".)

Overall approaches to anemia in nondialysis CKD, peritoneal dialysis, and hemodialysis patients are discussed elsewhere. (See "Treatment of anemia in nondialysis chronic kidney disease" and "Treatment of anemia in hemodialysis patients" and "Treatment of anemia in peritoneal dialysis patients".)


Patients may have either absolute or functional iron deficiency.

Absolute iron deficiency – Absolute iron deficiency is defined by severely reduced or absent storage iron in bone marrow, liver, and spleen.

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Literature review current through: Oct 2017. | This topic last updated: May 03, 2017.
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