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Anemia is a poor predictor of iron deficiency among toddlers in the United States: for heme the bell tolls.
Pediatrics 2005; 115(2):315-20Ped

Abstract

CONTEXT

Many toddlers in the United States have their hemoglobin (Hb) measured periodically. Is this worthwhile?

OBJECTIVE

To determine if the presence of anemia correctly diagnoses iron deficiency (ID) and if the absence of anemia correctly rules out ID in young children.

METHODOLOGY

An analysis of data from the US National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey III (1988-1994) was performed. Subjects were children 12 to 35 months old for whom complete blood counts and cardinal measures of iron nutrition (ferritin, transferrin saturation, and free erythrocyte protoporphyrin) were reported.

RESULTS

In the US National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey III, the prevalence of ID ranged from 6% to 18% in various subpopulations of toddlers. In the general population, the positive predictive value of Hb concentration ([Hb]) <110 g/L for ID was 29% (95% confidence interval [CI]: 20-38%), and the sensitivity was 30% (95% CI: 20-40%). Changing the diagnostic cutoff point to [Hb] <107 g/L resulted in a positive predictive value of 38% (95% CI: 24-52%) but lowered the sensitivity to 15% (95% CI: 7-22%).

CONCLUSIONS

ID remains common in the United States. In agreement with other reports, anemia in toddlers in developed countries is more likely to be due to causes other than ID. Conversely, most children with ID are not anemic. Many false-positive and false-negative results render the measurement of Hb a screening test of relatively little value. The current detection strategy needlessly treats and retests many children without ID and leaves many iron-deficient toddlers unattended.

Authors+Show Affiliations

Department of Pediatrics, Contra Costa Regional Medical Center and Health Centers, 2500 Alhambra Ave, Martinez, California 94553, USA. kcwhite@ucdavis.edu

Pub Type(s)

Journal Article
Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

Language

eng

PubMed ID

15687438

Citation

White, Keith C.. "Anemia Is a Poor Predictor of Iron Deficiency Among Toddlers in the United States: for Heme the Bell Tolls." Pediatrics, vol. 115, no. 2, 2005, pp. 315-20.
White KC. Anemia is a poor predictor of iron deficiency among toddlers in the United States: for heme the bell tolls. Pediatrics. 2005;115(2):315-20.
White, K. C. (2005). Anemia is a poor predictor of iron deficiency among toddlers in the United States: for heme the bell tolls. Pediatrics, 115(2), pp. 315-20.
White KC. Anemia Is a Poor Predictor of Iron Deficiency Among Toddlers in the United States: for Heme the Bell Tolls. Pediatrics. 2005;115(2):315-20. PubMed PMID: 15687438.
* Article titles in AMA citation format should be in sentence-case
TY - JOUR T1 - Anemia is a poor predictor of iron deficiency among toddlers in the United States: for heme the bell tolls. A1 - White,Keith C, PY - 2005/2/3/pubmed PY - 2005/5/6/medline PY - 2005/2/3/entrez SP - 315 EP - 20 JF - Pediatrics JO - Pediatrics VL - 115 IS - 2 N2 - CONTEXT: Many toddlers in the United States have their hemoglobin (Hb) measured periodically. Is this worthwhile? OBJECTIVE: To determine if the presence of anemia correctly diagnoses iron deficiency (ID) and if the absence of anemia correctly rules out ID in young children. METHODOLOGY: An analysis of data from the US National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey III (1988-1994) was performed. Subjects were children 12 to 35 months old for whom complete blood counts and cardinal measures of iron nutrition (ferritin, transferrin saturation, and free erythrocyte protoporphyrin) were reported. RESULTS: In the US National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey III, the prevalence of ID ranged from 6% to 18% in various subpopulations of toddlers. In the general population, the positive predictive value of Hb concentration ([Hb]) <110 g/L for ID was 29% (95% confidence interval [CI]: 20-38%), and the sensitivity was 30% (95% CI: 20-40%). Changing the diagnostic cutoff point to [Hb] <107 g/L resulted in a positive predictive value of 38% (95% CI: 24-52%) but lowered the sensitivity to 15% (95% CI: 7-22%). CONCLUSIONS: ID remains common in the United States. In agreement with other reports, anemia in toddlers in developed countries is more likely to be due to causes other than ID. Conversely, most children with ID are not anemic. Many false-positive and false-negative results render the measurement of Hb a screening test of relatively little value. The current detection strategy needlessly treats and retests many children without ID and leaves many iron-deficient toddlers unattended. SN - 1098-4275 UR - https://www.unboundmedicine.com/medline/citation/15687438/Anemia_is_a_poor_predictor_of_iron_deficiency_among_toddlers_in_the_United_States:_for_heme_the_bell_tolls_ L2 - http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/cgi/pmidlookup?view=long&amp;pmid=15687438 DB - PRIME DP - Unbound Medicine ER -