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January 24, 1966

Simplified Deferoxamine Test in Normal, Diabetic, and Iron-Overload Patients: Clinical Observations

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Medicine, New England Deaconess Hospital, and the Protein Foundation, Boston. Dr. Rosen is now at the Hematology Unit, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston.

JAMA. 1966;195(4):261-264. doi:10.1001/jama.1966.03100040067018

The effect of a single intramuscular injection of deferoxamine mesylate, a potent iron chelating agent, on six-hour urinary iron excretion was used as a simplified screening test for iron-storage disease. Sixteen normal, 12 diabetic, and 12 iron-overload patients were studied. The diabetic group showed a significant decrease in transferrin and in pre- and post-deferoxamine urinary iron excretion. Eleven patients in the iron-overload group exhibited varied but marked increase in serum iron levels and in pre- and post-deferoxamine urinary iron excretion. The 12th subject had iron deficiency as the result of many phlebotomies; the deferoxamine-test results were corroborated by absence of iron on liver biopsy. A range of values was proposed to set limits for normal and iron-overload groups.