Predictive value of absent bone marrow iron stores in the clinical diagnosis of iron deficiency anemia

Apar Kishor Ganti, Nauman Moazzam, Sandeep Laroia, Ketki Tendulkar, Anil Potti, Syed A. Mehdi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Scopus citations


The examination of Prussian-blue-stained bone marrow aspirates for the presence or absence of histiocytic iron granules has been considered the gold standard in evaluating iron-depleted states. We performed this study to evaluate the predictive accuracy of absent stainable bone marrow iron for iron deficiency anemia (IDA). A retrospective study was performed on an unselected series of 53 consecutive bone marrow biopsy specimens. Only those patients who had totally depleted iron stores and who had iron studies done within 6 months of bone marrow biopsy were included in the study. Based on these criteria, 12 patients were found eligible. After complete evaluation to determine the cause of the patient's illness, the final diagnosis was IDA in only 6 patients (50%). There was no significant difference between the two groups as regards hemoglobin level, reticulocyte count, serum iron levels, total iron binding capacity, red blood cell mean corpuscular volume, ferritin and the transferrin saturation levels. The finding of absent bone marrow iron stores is not necessarily predictive of iron deficiency anemia. The finding of absent stores of iron in the bone marrow needs to be taken in conjunction with other laboratory findings and the clinical scenario while making a diagnosis of IDA, since certain other hematological diseases may co-exist.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)389-392
Number of pages4
JournalIn Vivo
Issue number5
StatePublished - 2003
Externally publishedYes


  • Bone marrow iron stores
  • Iron deficiency anemia

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • Cancer Research
  • Pharmacology


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