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Am J Gastroenterol. 2000 Oct;95(10):2975-7.

Zinc-induced copper deficiency in a coin swallower.

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  • 1Division of Digestive Diseases and Nutrition, John L. McClellan Memorial Veterans Hospital, University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, Little Rock, USA.

Abstract

In humans, acquired copper deficiency anemia is rare. This report describes a 58-yr-old man with metal pica, especially coins, who presented with symptomatic anemia. His workup led to the diagnosis of zinc-induced copper deficiency. We believe that, in this man, leaching of zinc from pennies explained the clinical and laboratory findings. This case demonstrates that health care workers should consider the possibility of zinc-induced copper deficiency when confronted with patients with unexplained anemia who have ingested coins or other zinc-containing metals.

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