British Journal of Nutrition

Systematic Review

Effect of sodium iron ethylenediaminetetra-acetate (NaFeEDTA) on haemoglobin and serum ferritin in iron-deficient populations: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomised and quasi-randomised controlled trials

Bo Wanga1, Siyan Zhana1, Yinyin Xiaa1 and Liming Leea1 c1

a1 Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, School of Public Health, Peking University Health Science Center, 38 Xueyuan Road, Haidian District, Beijing 100083, China


We aimed to synthesise evidence to assess the effect and safety of NaFeEDTA on Hb and serum ferritin in Fe-deficient populations. We performed a systematic review, identifying potential studies by searching the electronic databases of Medline, Cochrane Library, Embase, WHO Library and China National Knowledge Infrastructure. We also hand-searched relevant conference proceedings and reference lists. Finally, we contacted experts in the field. The selection criteria included randomised or quasi-randomised controlled trials of NaFeEDTA compared with placebo. Hb, serum ferritin and adverse effects were outcomes of interest. Inclusion decisions, quality assessment and data extraction were performed by two reviewers independently. Seven studies met the inclusion criteria. All included studies assessed the effect of NaFeEDTA on Hb concentration, four studies assessed the effect on serum ferritin concentration, and one study on serum Zn concentration. After the intervention, Hb concentration and serum ferritin concentration were both higher in the NaFeEDTA group compared with the control group. For Hb, data from six studies could be pooled and the pooled estimate (weighted mean difference) was 8·56 (95 % CI 2·21, 14·90) g/l (P = 0·008). For serum ferritin, data from four studies could be pooled and the pooled difference was 1·58 (95 % CI 1·20, 2·09) μg/l (P < 0·001). Subgroup analysis indicated that a lower baseline Hb level was associated with a greater increase in Hb concentration. No significant difference in serum Zn concentration was found. We concluded that NaFeEDTA increased both Hb concentration and serum ferritin concentration substantially in Fe-deficient populations, and could be an effective Fe preparation to combat Fe deficiency.

(Received October 29 2007)

(Revised May 09 2008)

(Accepted May 09 2008)

(Online publication June 13 2008)


c1 Corresponding author: Professor Liming Lee, fax +86 10 82801528 extension 335, email lmlee@vip.163


Abbreviations: EPOC, Effective Practice and Organisation of Care Group; IDA, Fe-deficiency anaemia