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J Pediatr Hematol Oncol. 2000 Jan-Feb;22(1):50-4.

Treatment of iron deficiency anemia and associated protein-losing enteropathy in children.

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  • 1Department of Pediatrics, Marshfield Clinic, Wisconsin 54449, USA.



The aims of this study were to evaluate the response of oral iron treatment in children with iron deficiency anemia (IDA) fed whole cow's milk (WCM) or soy formula; to compare the incidence of fecal blood loss in infants fed WCM and soy formula; and to evaluate the incidence and relation of protein-losing enteropathy (PLE) and IDA by testing serum albumin, fecal blood loss, and fecal alpha1-antitrypsin (alpha1AT).


Twenty-four children with nutritional IDA were randomly assigned to receive either 16 oz WCM or soy formula daily. Both groups were treated with daily therapeutic oral iron during 12 weeks. Stool specimens for hemoglobin losses were collected at weeks 0, 3, 6, and 12. Levels of serum albumin and fecal alpha1AT were tested at diagnosis and when IDA was corrected.


Anemia was corrected in 21 of the 24 children by week 6 or 12. Median fecal hemoglobin losses were not increased in either group at diagnosis or during treatment. Seven of 24 children had PLE at diagnosis with elevated fecal alpha1AT levels of 72 to 381 mg/dL that returned to normal after correction of IDA. Their initial fecal alpha1AT levels averaged 170 mg/ dL at diagnosis and 21 mg/dL after the IDA was corrected. Excessive WCM intake of 30 oz/day or more was present in 63% of the infants.


Treatment of nutritional IDA with oral iron was just as effective with a limited quantity of either WCM or soy formula. Fecal hemoglobin losses were uncommon and did not differ in children at diagnosis or during treatment of IDA. PLE associated with IDA resolves when the IDA is corrected, but differences between children fed WCM or soy formula could not be detected.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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