Preterm infants are at risk for both iron deficiency and iron overload. The role of iron in multiple organ functions suggests that iron supplementation is essential for the preterm infant. Conversely, the potential for iron overload and the poorly developed antioxidant measures in the preterm infant argue against indiscriminate iron supplementation in this population. This article reviews the predisposing factors and consequences of iron deficiency and iron overload in the preterm infant, discusses the current recommendation for iron supplementation and its appropriateness, and describes potential management strategies that strike a balance between iron deficiency and iron toxicity.
- Iron overload