A Comparison Between Whites and Blacks With Severe Multi-Organ Iron Overload Identified in 16,152 Autopsies

Academic Article

Abstract

  • Background & Aims: Little is known about differences in the prevalence of severe iron overload at death in whites and blacks. We evaluated data and samples from 16,152 autopsies (8484 whites, 7668 blacks) performed at a single university hospital. Methods: Cases of severe multi-organ iron overload were identified by review of autopsy protocols and Perls-stained tissue specimens, analysis of hepatocyte and Kupffer cell iron levels, and measurement of liver tissue iron concentrations. Results: We analyzed autopsy data from 10,345 adults (age ≥21 years), 1337 children (1-20 years), and 4470 infants (<1 year). Iron overload without reports of excessive exogenous iron was observed in 18 adults; the prevalence in whites and blacks was 0.0019 and 0.0015, respectively (P = .6494). Twenty-nine adults and 2 children had iron overload with reports of excessive exogenous iron. In adults, the prevalences of iron overload with reports of excessive exogenous iron in whites and blacks were 0.0040 and 0.0013, respectively (P = .0107). Among adults, the prevalence of cirrhosis was 6-fold greater in those with iron overload. In adults with severe iron overload, 67% without reports of excessive exogenous iron and 14% with reports of excessive exogenous iron died of hepatic failure or cardiomyopathy caused by siderosis. The overall prevalence of deaths caused by severe iron overload in whites and blacks was 0.0021 and 0.0009, respectively (P = .0842). Conclusions: The prevalence of severe iron overload without reports of excessive exogenous iron did not differ significantly between whites and blacks. The prevalence of iron overload with reports of excessive exogenous iron was greater in whites. Hepatic failure and cardiomyopathy were common causes of death in severe iron overload cases. © 2009 AGA Institute.
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    Author List

  • Barton JC; Acton RT; Anderson LE; Alexander CB
  • Volume

  • 7
  • Issue

  • 7