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June 4, 1960


Author Affiliations

New York

From the Radioisotope Department, Bellevue Hospital, and the Department of Radiology, New York University College of Medicine.

JAMA. 1960;173(5):481-487. doi:10.1001/jama.1960.03020230007002

The rate at which intravenously injected iron disappears from the blood depends partly on the rate at which iron is being used for the production of fresh erythrocytes in the bone marrow. The injection of radioactive iron (Fe59) has proved to be a convenient means of measuring the rate of disappearance of iron from the plasma and its uptake by the erythrocytes. Experience has led to the use of 4 microcuries of Fe59 in the form of ferrous citrate as the standard injection. The data accumulated have been shown to be useful in the diagnosis of aplastic anemia, iron deficiency anemia, leukemia, and polycythemia. Since continuing losses of blood and variations in the iron stores of the body affect the results, intelligent interpretation is required.