Management of iron overload in the Canadian hematology/oncology population: Implications for nursing practice

Cindy Murray, Tammy De Gelder, Nancy Pringle, J. Colleen Johnston, Mary Doherty


Red blood cell (RBC) transfusions are vital for many patients with chronic anemias associated with oncologic/hematologic disorders. However, repeated transfusions over time can lead to iron overload, which, if left untreated, can increase the risk of further malignancy and end-organ damage. 

Nurses and other health care professionals may not be aware of the significant implications of RBC transfusions and iron overload in patients with hematological/oncological disorders. This article was developed by a group of Canadian nurse practitioners and specialized oncology nurses to help improve health care professionals’ understanding of iron overload in oncology patients and its associated risks, as well as provide a practical guide for the management of patients receiving treatment for this potentially serious condition. 

Key words: oncology, malignant hematology, iron overload, iron chelation therapy, nursing practice 

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