PloS one 2016 12 1411(12) e0167987 doi 10.1371/journal.pone.0167987
Iron deficiency is prevalent in idiopathic pulmonary arterial hypertension (IPAH), but whether iron deficiency or ferritin levels are associated with pulmonary hypertension (PH) in the general population is unknown.
We performed a cross-sectional analysis of data on iron deficiency (exposure), and PH (pulmonary artery systolic pressure>40mmHg on echocardiogram) (outcome) on subjects with complete data on exposures and outcomes as well as covariates (n = 2,800) enrolled in the Jackson Heart Study, a longitudinal prospective observational cohort study of heart disease in African-Americans from Jackson, Mississippi. Iron deficiency was defined as a serum ferritin level < 15ng/mL (females); < 30ng/mL (males). We determined crude prevalence ratios (PRs) for PH in iron deficient versus non-iron deficient groups using modified Poisson regression modeling. We also analyzed the prevalence of PH by sex-specific quartiles of ferritin (Females ≤ 47ng/mL; > 47ng/mL- 95ng/mL; > 95ng/mL- 171ng/mL; > 171ng/mL; Males ≤ 110ng/mL; > 110ng/mL- 182ng/mL; > 182ng/mL- 294ng/mL; > 294ng/mL), using the same modeling technique with the lowest quartile as the referent.
Median pulmonary artery systolic pressure was 27mmHg (interquartile range 23-31mmHg) in the study cohort. 147 subjects (5.2%) had PH and 140 (5.0%) had iron deficiency. However, of the 147 subjects with PH, only 4 were also iron deficient. The crude PH PR was 0.5 (95% CI 0.2-1.4) in iron-deficiency compared to non-deficient. In analysis by quartiles of ferritin, adjusting for age and sex, there was no evidence of association with PH in quartiles 2 (PR 1.1, 95% CI 0.7-1.6), 3 (PR 0.8, 95% CI 0.5-1.3), or 4 (PR 0.8, 95% CI 0.5-1.2) compared with quartile 1 (referent group, PR 1). Further analyses of the relationship between PH and ferritin as a log-transformed continuous variable or by quartiles of serum iron showed similar results.
In the Jackson Heart Study, the prevalence of PH was similar in iron-deficient and non-iron deficient subjects. There was no evidence of association between ferritin (or serum iron) levels and PH.
Iron deficiency has been associated with IPAH, a rare disorder. However, in a large community-based sample of African-Americans, there was no evidence that iron deficiency or low iron levels were associated with PH.