Implementation of a protocol for management of antepartum iron deficiency anemia: a prospective cohort study

Published:November 19, 2021DOI:



      In randomized trials, antepartum intravenous iron sucrose is effective at improving predelivery hemoglobin in iron deficiency anemia. Yet, there is a gap between this knowledge and its implementation into care.


      We aimed to determine if the implementation of a standardized protocol for the management of antepartum anemia outside of a clinical trial improves intravenous iron sucrose utilization and clinical outcomes.


      We performed a prospective cohort study evaluating the incorporation of an anemia protocol into routine clinical care for women with antepartum hemoglobin <11.0 g/dL. Our protocol, developed with multidisciplinary stakeholders, included (1) serial third trimester hemoglobin assessment, (2) oral iron supplementation for antepartum hemoglobin 9.5–11 g/dL, and (3) antepartum intravenous iron sucrose use (300 mg weekly for 3 weeks) for hemoglobin <9.5 g/dL. We compared 6-months preimplementation (January 2018 to June 2018) to 6-months postimplementation (January 2019 to June 2019). The outcomes evaluated were antepartum intravenous iron sucrose utilization, the number of intravenous iron sucrose dosages, predelivery hemoglobin, and blood transfusion.


      A total of 1423 women were included (pre=778; post=645) without significant baseline differences. The antepartum hemoglobin nadir was no different between the groups (pre: 10.2; interquartile range [9.6–10.6] vs post: 10.2; interquartile range [9.6–10.6]; P=.77). The implementation of a standardized protocol for the management of antepartum anemia was associated with 80% increased odds of receiving intravenous iron sucrose than the preimplementation group (pre: 4.8% vs post: 8.2%, P=.008; odds ratio, 1.79; 95% confidence interval, [1.16–2.77]). The implementation of a standardized protocol for the management of antepartum iron deficiency anemia was also associated with higher hemoglobin at admission for delivery (pre: 10.9; interquartile range [10.1–11.6] vs post: 11.0; interquartile range [10.3–11.7], P=.048). There were no significant differences between the groups in blood product transfusion (pre: 7.1% vs post: 5.1%, P=.13).


      Implementation of a standardized antepartum anemia protocol is associated with increased intravenous iron sucrose utilization and improvement in predelivery hemoglobin.

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