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Trop Geogr Med. 1989 Oct;41(4):331-6.

Pancytopenia in nutritional megaloblastic anaemia. A study from north-west India.

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  • 1Department of Hematology, Postgraduate Institute of Medical Education and Research, Chandigarh, India.


We have analysed 139 consecutive cases (71 males and 68 females) of nutritional megaloblastic anaemia over a period of four and a half years. The majority of these patients belonged to the low socio-economic class and many of them were strict vegetarians. Sixty one percent were in the second and third decades of life. At the time of presentation, 46% had mild hepatomegaly, 42% fever, 34% mild splenomegaly and 20% bleeding manifestations. Of 102 cases in whom the biochemical parameters were available, vitamin B12 deficiency was detected in 76%, folate deficiency in 6.8%, combined B12 and folate deficiency in 8.8%; the remaining 7.8% had normal vitamin levels at presentation. All 139 patients had severe anaemia, 80.5% had thrombocytopenia and 43.8% had neutropenia as well as thrombocytopenia. It appears that during progression (in terms of duration) of megaloblastosis, anaemia is followed by thrombocytopenia and then neutropenia. Infection and bleeding in these patients may be aggravated by impaired functions of neutrophils and platelets, respectively.

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