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Pediatr Hematol Oncol. 2005 Mar;22(2):127-31.

Craving for ice and iron-deficiency anemia: a case series from Oman.

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  • 1Department of Family and Community Medicine, College of Medicine, Sultan Qaboos University, Alkodh, Oman.


Pagophagia, or the practice of consuming ice, is a particular expression of the more general phenomenon of pica. Pagophagia is a complex behavioral phenomenon arising from the interplay of biochemical, hematological, psychological, and cultural factors. This compulsive dietary aberration is observed in many children and pregnant women worldwide. The authors report 3 cases of severe iron deficiency anemia with a serum ferritin level of 2-3 ng/mL, in which the patients were consuming 2 trays and many bags of ice per day. Following treatment with iron therapy, pagophagia spontaneously resolved within 2 weeks. It is a commonly missed problem. Pediatricians should be alert to this phenomena and its association with iron-deficiency anemia.

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