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Jornal de Pediatria

Print version ISSN 0021-7557On-line version ISSN 1678-4782


SCHNEIDER, Ana C. R. et al. Low plasma zinc concentrations in pediatric patients with cirrhosis. J. Pediatr. (Rio J.) [online]. 2009, vol.85, n.4, pp.359-364. ISSN 0021-7557.

OBJECTIVE: To determine plasma zinc concentrations in children and adolescents with cirrhosis and to investigate the association between these results and dietary zinc intake, anthropometric data, and severity of liver disease. METHODS: Plasma zinc concentration was assessed by atomic absorption spectrophotometry in 30 children and adolescents with cirrhosis (105.0±60.0 months; 22 girls) and 27 without liver disease (122.3±47.3 months, 14 girls). Dietary zinc data were evaluated by 3-day food intake records. Anthropometry measures included height, weight, skinfold thickness, brachial circumference, and upper arm muscle size. Severity of liver disease was classified according to the Child-Pugh, MELD, and PELD criteria. RESULTS: The mean (± standard deviation) plasma zinc concentrations in control subjects and patients were 105.69±19.46 and 75.44±24.45 μg/dL, respectively (p < 0.001). No associations were found between anthropometric measures, dietary zinc intake, and plasma zinc concentration. There was statistical difference related to plasma zinc concentrations between Child-Pugh B + C patients and control subjects (p < 0.001), and concerning PELD, between patients below the cutoff score of 15 and those above (p = 0.002). CONCLUSION: The prevalence of hypozincemia was 43% for patients with cirrhosis. Although low plasma zinc concentration was associated with more severe liver disease, it was present even in some Child-Pugh A patients. Therefore, zinc supplementation should be considered for cirrhotic children.

Keywords : Zinc; liver cirrhosis; anthropometry; child.

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