Can oral iron supplements or pentoxifylline improve outcomes in heart failure?

Strategies for Optimal Iron Repletion in Chronic Heart Failure and the Mechanisms of Benefit

Darlington Okonko (lead researcher)

King's College London

Start date: 01 December 2014 (Duration 4 years)

People with heart failure frequently have low iron levels, which can worsen their symptoms, make exercising difficult and even decrease their life expectancy. This iron deficiency could result because people with heart failure cannot absorb iron from the food they eat as their gut becomes inflamed. But we don’t know if modifying gut inflammation using drugs will improve iron absorption in heart failure patients.

Clinical trials have found that intravenous iron replacement can improve exercise ability in people with heart failure, but we don’t know how if cheaper oral iron supplements have the same effect.

Cardiologist Dr Darlington Okonko from King’s College London has been awarded an Intermediate BHF Clinical Research Training Fellowship to work under the guidance of BHF Professor Ajay Shah. In his fellowship, Dr Okonko will carry out a number of clinical studies in people with heart failure. His studies will find out whether oral iron is as good as intravenous iron in correcting iron deficiency and improving a person’s ability to exercise. He will find out whether gut iron absorption can be improved by the anti-inflammatory drug, pentoxifylline. He will also work out how correcting iron deficiency improves exercise capacity in heart failure.

This research could reveal a way to treat symptoms in people with heart failure that could make a huge difference to their quality of life.

Project details

Grant amount £844,817
Grant type Fellowship
Application type Intermediate Clinical Research Fellowship
Start Date 01 December 2014
Duration 4 years
Reference FS/14/77/30913
Status In progress

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