African Americans at Risk for Increased Iron Stores or Liver Disease

Academic Article


  • Purpose: We sought to determine the prevalence of elevated measures of iron status in African Americans and whether the combination of serum ferritin concentration >200 μg/L for women or >300 μg/L for men and transferrin saturation in the highest quartile represents increased likelihood of mutation of HFE, self-reported iron overload or self-reported liver disease. Subjects and Methods: A cross-sectional observational study of 27,224 African Americans ≥25 years of age recruited in a primary care setting was conducted as part of the multi-center, multi-ethnic Hemochromatosis and Iron Overload Screening (HEIRS) Study. Measurements included serum ferritin concentration, transferrin saturation, testing for HFE C282Y and H63D, and self-reported iron overload and liver disease. Results: Serum ferritin concentration >200 μg/L for women or >300 μg/L for men occurred in 5263 (19.3%) of African Americans, while serum ferritin concentration in this range with highest-quartile transferrin saturation (>29% women; >35% men) occurred in 1837 (6.7%). Adjusted odds of HFE mutation (1.76 women, 1.67 men), self-reported iron overload (1.97 women, 2.88 men), or self-reported liver disease (5.18 women, 3.73 men) were greater with elevated serum ferritin concentration and highest-quartile transferrin saturation than with nonelevated serum ferritin concentration (each P <.05). Conclusions: Serum ferritin concentration >200 μg/L for women or >300 μg/L for men in combination with transferrin saturation >29% for women or >35% for men occurs in approximately 7% of adult African American primary care patients. Patients with this combination of iron test results should be evaluated for increased body iron stores or liver disease. © 2007 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
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    Author List

  • Dawkins FW; Gordeuk VR; Snively BM; Lovato L; Barton JC; Acton RT; McLaren GD; Leiendecker-Foster C; McLaren CE; Adams PC
  • Volume

  • 120
  • Issue

  • 8