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Population-Based Data |

Prevalence of Elevated Serum Transferrin Saturation in Adults in the United States

Anne C. Looker, PhD; and Clifford L. Johnson, MSPH
[+] Article and Author Information

From the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Hyattsville, Maryland. Requests for Reprints: Anne Looker, PhD, National Center for Health Statistics, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 6525 Belcrest Road, Hyattsville, MD 20782. Current Author Addresses: Dr. Looker and Mr. Johnson: National Center for Health Statistics, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 6525 Belcrest Road, Hyattsville, MD 20782. Note: This article is one of a series of articles comprising an Annals of Internal Medicine supplement entitled “Iron Overload, Public Health, and Genetics.” To view a complete list of the articles included in this supplement, please view its Table of Contents.


Copyright ©2004 by the American College of Physicians


Ann Intern Med. 1998;129(11_Part_2):940-945. doi:10.7326/0003-4819-129-11_Part_2-199812011-00004
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Background: A population-based hemochromatosis screening program that uses serum transferrin saturation has been proposed, but few data exist on the number of U.S. adults that such a program would identify for further testing.

Objective: To determine the prevalence of an initially elevated serum transferrin saturation and the prevalence of concurrently elevated serum transferrin saturation and serum ferritin levels in the adult population of the United States.

Design: Nationally representative cross-sectional survey of the noninstitutionalized U.S. civilian population.

Participants: 15 839 men and nonpregnant women 20 years of age and older who were examined in the third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (1988-1994).

Measurements: Single measurements of serum transferrin saturations and serum ferritin levels. Cut-off values used to define elevated serum transferrin saturation ranged from greater than 45% to greater than 62%.

Results: The prevalence of initially elevated serum transferrin saturation ranged from 1% to 6%. Approximately 11% to 22% of those with elevated serum transferrin saturation had concurrently elevated serum ferritin levels. The prevalence of elevated serum transferrin saturation was lower in women than in men when the same cut-off value was used to define elevated serum transferrin saturation. The prevalence of elevated serum transferrin saturation in non-Hispanic black persons and Mexican-Americans was similar to or slightly less than that in non-Hispanic white persons. The prevalence of elevated serum transferrin saturation in persons 20 to 49 years of age was as high as or higher than that in older adults.

Conclusions: A hemochromatosis screening program that uses a cut-off value of greater than 60% to define elevated serum transferrin saturation would identify an estimated 1.4 to 2.5 million U.S. adults for further testing.

Figures

Grahic Jump Location
Figure 1.
Prevalence of elevated serum transferrin saturation by ethnicity in National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey III (1988-1994).

Elevated serum transferrin saturation is defined as greater than 60% for men and greater than 55% for women. White bars represent non-Hispanic white persons, black bars represent non-Hispanic black persons, and striped bars represent Mexican-Americans. Error bars represent 95% Cls. The asterisk indicates findings that may be statistically unreliable.

Grahic Jump Location
Grahic Jump Location
Figure 2.
Prevalence of elevated serum transferrin saturation by age in National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey III (1988-1994).

Elevated serum transferrin saturation is defined as greater than 60% for men and greater than 55% for women. White bars represent persons 20 to 49 years of age; black bars represent persons 50 to 79 years of age; and striped bars represent persons 80 years of age and older. Error bars represent 95% Cls. Asterisks indicate findings that may be statistically unreliable.

Grahic Jump Location

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