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Clinical and Laboratory Associations with Persistent Hyperferritinemia in 373 Black Hemochromatosis and Iron Overload Screening Study Participants

James C. Barton, J. Clayborn Barton, Paul C. Adams


Background. 373 black participants had elevated screening and post-screening serum ferritin (SF) (> 300 μg/L men; > 200 μg/L women). Material and methods. We retrospectively studied SF and post-screening age; sex; body mass index; transferrin saturation (TS); ALT; AST; GGT; elevated C-reactive protein; ß-thalassemia; neutrophils; lymphocytes; monocytes; platelets; metacarpophalangeal joint hypertrophy; hepatomegaly; splenomegaly; diabetes; HFE H63D positivity; iron/alcohol intakes; and blood/erythrocyte transfusion units. Liver disease was defined as elevated ALT or AST. We computed correlations of SF and TS with: age; body mass index; ALT; AST; GGT; C-reactive protein; blood cell counts; and iron/alcohol. We compared participants with SF > 1,000 and ≤ 1,000 μg/L and performed regressions on SF. Results. There were 237 men (63.5%). Mean age was 55 ± 13 (SD) y. 143 participants had liver disease (62 hepatitis B or C). There were significant correlations of SF: TS, ALT, AST, GGT, and monocytes (positive); and SF and TS with platelets (negative). 22 participants with SF > 1,000 μg/L had significantly higher median TS, ALT, and AST, and prevalences of anemia and transfusion > 10 units; and lower median platelets. Regression on SF revealed significant associations: TS; male sex; age; GGT; transfusion units (positive); and splenomegaly (negative) (p < 0.0001, 0.0016, 0.0281, 0.0025, 0.0001, and 0.0096, respectively). Five men with SF > 1,000 μg/L and elevated TS had presumed primary iron overload (hemochromatosis). Four participants had transfusion iron overload. Conclusion. Persistent hyperferritinemia in 373 black adults was associated with male sex, age, TS, GGT, and transfusion. 2.4% had primary iron overload (hemochromatosis) or transfusion iron overload.

Key words. Alanine aminotransferase., Aspartate aminotransferase., γ-glutamyl transpeptidase., Metabolic syndrome., Transferrin saturation.

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The Official Journal of the Mexican Association of Hepatology, the Latin-American Association for the Study of the Liver and the Canadian Association for the Study of the Liver

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