This study was conducted to study the clinical and laboratory parameters in patients with macrocytic anemia and to determine the etiology of macrocytic anemia with special reference to megaloblastic anemia.
This study was a cross-sectional descriptive study carried over a period of 18 months on 60 adult patients (age ≥13 years) of macrocytic anemia. Macrocytic anemia was identified when peripheral blood examination showed anemia with a mean red blood corpuscular volume of >95 fl.
The most common cause of macrocytic anemia was megaloblastic anemia (38.4%). The major causes of nonmegaloblastic macrocytic anemia were primary bone marrow disorders (35%), liver diseases (15%) and hemolytic anemia (8.3%). There was a significant male preponderance in the study (65%). The megaloblastic anemias observed were due to either vitamin B(12) deficiency (78.3%) or combined B(12) and folate deficiency (21.7%). A significant proportion of non-vegetarians (73.9%) had megaloblastic anemia. Patients with an MCV of >110fl were more likely to have megaloblastic anemia (p value 0.0007). Three patients (mean age 55 years) with a megaloblastic marrow did not respond to vitamin replacement and were found to have myelodysplastic syndrome.
Megaloblastic anemia due to Vitamin B(12) or folate deficiency remains the most important cause of macrocytic anemia. In settings with limited laboratory facilities, a therapeutic trial of vitamins B(12) or folic acid is useful in determining the specific vitamin deficiency.