Study finds toolkit could improve detection and management of iron deficiency in pregnancy

August 20, 2019

The implementation of a novel quality improvement toolkit has shown to enhance early detection and treatment of iron deficiency in pregnancy, according to a study led by St. Michael's Hospital.

IRON Deficiency in Pregnancy with Maternal IrOn OptiMization (IRON MOM) is a paper-based toolkit that includes clinical pathways and educational resources to guide clinicians and expectant mothers through diagnosis and management of iron deficiency.

The research, published today in PLOS Medicine, compares rates of ferritin testing in the obstetric clinics at Toronto's St. Michael's Hospital before and after the implementation of the IRON MOM toolkit. Ferritin is a blood cell protein that contains iron and ferritin tests can help obstetricians understand how much iron is being stored in the body.

If not treated, iron deficiency can cause serious health consequences, including anemia, early labour, low birth weight and long-term developmental issues in the child.

"Screening for iron deficiency in pregnancy is recommended by health agencies but with low awareness of its implications and competing priorities in busy obstetric clinics, it doesn't happen as often as it should," said Dr. Michelle Sholzberg, co-lead author, a hematologist at St. Michael's and a scientist at the hospital's Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute.

"That was the impetus for the development of IRON MOM, which provides guidance and supports for women to feel empowered to speak to their care providers to ensure they're receiving enough iron."

One year after implementation of the IRON MOM toolkit, the team found an almost 10 times increase in the average monthly rate of ferritin testing in the obstetric clinics at St. Michael's.

They also found a significant decrease in the risk of anemia - a condition in which the body lacks sufficient healthy red blood cells to carry oxygen to the tissues - and those who required blood transfusions before and after pregnancy to improve their red blood cell count.

"IRON MOM demonstrated that priority setting and simple process changes in patient management can have a large impact on key clinical outcomes," said Dr. Jameel Abdulrehman, co-lead author from the University Health Network.

The researchers said these results provide support for expanding IRON MOM into other clinics and institutions. Currently, the team is working on an IRON MOM smartphone application that would make the toolkit available to women and clinicians across the country.

"It's widely accepted that many women will develop anemia in pregnancy as the result of iron deficiency," said Dr. Sholzberg. "But this doesn't have to be the case. Treating iron deficiency requires a culture change and IRON MOM addresses that need."
-end-


St. Michael's Hospital

Related Science Articles from Brightsurf:

75 science societies urge the education department to base Title IX sexual harassment regulations on evidence and science
The American Educational Research Association (AERA) and the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) today led 75 scientific societies in submitting comments on the US Department of Education's proposed changes to Title IX regulations.

Science/Science Careers' survey ranks top biotech, biopharma, and pharma employers
The Science and Science Careers' 2018 annual Top Employers Survey polled employees in the biotechnology, biopharmaceutical, pharmaceutical, and related industries to determine the 20 best employers in these industries as well as their driving characteristics.

Science in the palm of your hand: How citizen science transforms passive learners
Citizen science projects can engage even children who previously were not interested in science.

Applied science may yield more translational research publications than basic science
While translational research can happen at any stage of the research process, a recent investigation of behavioral and social science research awards granted by the NIH between 2008 and 2014 revealed that applied science yielded a higher volume of translational research publications than basic science, according to a study published May 9, 2018 in the open-access journal PLOS ONE by Xueying Han from the Science and Technology Policy Institute, USA, and colleagues.

Prominent academics, including Salk's Thomas Albright, call for more science in forensic science
Six scientists who recently served on the National Commission on Forensic Science are calling on the scientific community at large to advocate for increased research and financial support of forensic science as well as the introduction of empirical testing requirements to ensure the validity of outcomes.

World Science Forum 2017 Jordan issues Science for Peace Declaration
On behalf of the coordinating organizations responsible for delivering the World Science Forum Jordan, the concluding Science for Peace Declaration issued at the Dead Sea represents a global call for action to science and society to build a future that promises greater equality, security and opportunity for all, and in which science plays an increasingly prominent role as an enabler of fair and sustainable development.

PETA science group promotes animal-free science at society of toxicology conference
The PETA International Science Consortium Ltd. is presenting two posters on animal-free methods for testing inhalation toxicity at the 56th annual Society of Toxicology (SOT) meeting March 12 to 16, 2017, in Baltimore, Maryland.

Citizen Science in the Digital Age: Rhetoric, Science and Public Engagement
James Wynn's timely investigation highlights scientific studies grounded in publicly gathered data and probes the rhetoric these studies employ.

Science/Science Careers' survey ranks top biotech, pharma, and biopharma employers
The Science and Science Careers' 2016 annual Top Employers Survey polled employees in the biotechnology, biopharmaceutical, pharmaceutical, and related industries to determine the 20 best employers in these industries as well as their driving characteristics.

Three natural science professors win TJ Park Science Fellowship
Professor Jung-Min Kee (Department of Chemistry, UNIST), Professor Kyudong Choi (Department of Mathematical Sciences, UNIST), and Professor Kwanpyo Kim (Department of Physics, UNIST) are the recipients of the Cheong-Am (TJ Park) Science Fellowship of the year 2016.

Read More: Science News and Science Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.