Helicobacter pylori, anemia, and iron deficiency: relationships explored among Alaska native children.Pediatr Infect Dis J. 2007 Oct; 26(10):927-34.PI
Attempts to understand determinants of anemia and iron deficiency have led researchers to examine the role of Helicobacter pylori infection. The current study assessed determinants of anemia and iron deficiency, including H. pylori, in Alaska Native children.
In 1999, a population-based survey was conducted among 86 children (67% response rate), mean age of 43.7 months (standard deviation = 16.8 months). Samples of breath, stool, and venous blood were obtained from children for measures of anemia, iron deficiency, H. pylori, fecal blood loss, and current inflammation. Standardized interviews with parents provided information on demographics, illness, and intake of dietary iron, iron-absorption inhibitors, and enhancers.
Of the 86 children studied, 17.4% were anemic and 38.6% were iron deficient. Forty-one percent of the cohort had H. pylori-specific IgG antibodies, 86% tested positive by the urea breath test (UBT), and 80% tested positive by the stool antigen test. Presence of H. pylori antibodies emerged as a significant risk factor for anemia and iron deficiency in adjusted analyses controlling for demographic factors, current inflammation, and antibiotic use. In contrast, children with positive UBT or stool antigen results were significantly less likely to have anemia or iron deficiency than those with negative results.
Results from different measures of H. pylori may reflect different stages of infection. Relationships between H. pylori and anemia/iron deficiency may depend on the phase of infection measured, with serologic tests reflecting established H. pylori infection associated with anemia/iron deficiency, and UBT and stool antigen results reflecting an earlier stage of infection.