: Blood transfusion, ferritin and bleeding.


If a person need regular blood transfusion (like some blood disorders do) but the person also massively bleeding (so often) will they ferritin;

A. High, because the regular blood transfusion give them additional iron.
B. Balance, because they are receiving regular blood transfusion but also bleeding.
C. Low. Because all of iron will eventually leave their body?

I know it might be not as simple as those, but… I’m 5.

In: 0

They would usually present with a normal ferritin or slightly elevated, as they tend to balance a bit.

It will depend on the balance between blood given and blood loss, but it it’s possible that ferritin will be normal.

There is a condition called haemochromatosis, where more iron is absorbed from food that normal. This leads to excessive iron in the body and can cause cirrhosis of the liver. One of the main treatments for haemochromatosis is to bleed the patient regularly until iron levels, which ferritin is an indicator of, fall to normal levels.

So if someone gets repeated blood transfusions, more iron is getting put into the body than normal. They will often get ironoverloaded and need something done to reverse this or prevent it in the first place. The bleeding in your scenario may be enough to do this.

If however, the gain and loss don’t balance, they may have high iron stores or low iron stores, if they gain or loose too much respectively.

So to answer your question, the answer is A, B and C

Depends entirely on why they need the transfusions.

If they’re losing blood to the outside world (clotting disorders, bleeding disorders in intestine, etc) then you can transfuse to your hearts content without fear of raising ferritin to toxic levels.

But since ferritin is some kind of longterm iron storage molecule, if the need for transfusions is because the red blood cells keep breaking open in the blood vessels and spilling their contents (sickle cell, thalassemia, etc) then the iron is slowly accumulating in the body with each transfusion, and never being lost entirely. In these cases ferritin can get dangerously high.