A new study designed to work out the optimum dosage of intravenous (IV) iron for a kidney patient on haemodialysis, has been published in the New England Journal of Medicine.

IV iron injections have therefore been routinely administered to patients on dialysis for more than 20 years. However, despite its success, the optimal amount of IV iron that should be given was unknown, and renal units across the UK varied widely in how much they give their patients.

The study - Proactive IV irOn Therapy in haemodiALysis patients (PIVOTAL) trial - set out to compare proactive, high-dose and reactive low-dose IV iron treatment.

In the group of patients receiving high-dose iron, there was a significantly lower risk of death or major non-fatal cardiovascular events (such as heart attacks or heart failure), as compared to the low-dose group.

The results also showed that the group of patients receiving high-dose iron also required lower doses of erythropoiesis-stimulating agent (also known as EPO) and fewer blood transfusions.

Dr Megan Griffith, the principal investigator for PIVOTAL, at Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust, one of the 50 NHS Trusts involved in the study, said: “I am delighted that in NW London we have been able to facilitate this trial.

"The on-going enthusiasm, commitment and support shown by the participating sites has been a key factor in ensuring the success of this important study."

The news is groundbreaking, as in the UK alone there are 25,000 people on haemodialysis, with 3,000 people dying on dialysis every year.