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Revista de Saúde Pública

On-line version ISSN 1518-8787


CARVALHO, Antonio Geraldo Cidrão et al. Diagnosis of iron deficiency anemia in children of Northeast Brazil. Rev. Saúde Pública [online]. 2010, vol.44, n.3, pp.513-519. ISSN 1518-8787.

OBJECTIVE: To diagnose iron deficiency anemia in children. METHODS: The study was conducted with a sample of 301 children aged six to 30 months attending public daycare centers in the city of Recife, Northeast Brazil, in 2004. The diagnoses of anemia were based on a combination of different hematological and biochemical parameters: hemoglobin, mean corpuscular volume, ferritin, C-reactive protein, transferrin saturation and transferrin receptor. The chi-square test and ANOVA were used in the statistical analysis. RESULTS: Of all children studied, 92.4% had anemia (Hb <110 g/L) and 28.9% had moderate/severe anemia (Hb <90 g/L). Lower levels of hemoglobin were found in children aged 6-17 months. Iron deficiency was found in 51.5% of children using ferritin (<12 μg/L) as parameter. Taking into consideration the combination of hemoglobin level, ferritin and transferrin receptor, 58.1% had anemia with iron deficiency, 34.2% had anemia without iron deficiency and 2.3% had iron deficiency without anemia. Mean ferritin concentration was significantly higher in children with high C-reactive protein when compared with those with normal levels (22.1 vs. 14.8 µg/L). CONCLUSIONS: The use of several biochemical and hematological parameters allowed to diagnosing iron deficiency anemia in two thirds of children, suggesting a need to identify other determinants of anemia without iron deficiency.

Keywords : Anemia, Iron Deficiency [diagnosis]; Ferritins [blood]; Laboratory Techniques and Procedures; Hematologic Tests; Iron Deficiency [prevention]; Iron Deficiency [control]; Infant Nutrition; Child Nutrition.

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