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Br J Haematol. 1994 Apr;86(4):844-50.

Vitamin B12 deficiency is the primary cause of megaloblastic anaemia in Zimbabwe.

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1
Department of Haematology, University of Zimbabwe, Harare.

Abstract

In a study of the pathogenesis and clinical features of megaloblastic anaemia in southern Africa, we evaluated 144 consecutive Zimbabwean patients with megaloblastic haemopoiesis. Vitamin B12 deficiency was diagnosed in 86.1% of patients and was usually due to pernicious anaemia; isolated folate deficiency accounted for only 5.5% of cases. Anaemia was present in 95.8% of patients; the haemoglobin (Hb) was < or = 6 g/dl in 63.9%. Neurological dysfunction was noted in 70.2% of vitamin B12-deficient patients and was most striking in those with Hb values > 6 g/dl. Serum levels of methylmalonic acid, homocysteine, or both, were increased in 98.5% of patients. Vitamin B12 deficiency is the primary cause of megaloblastic anaemia in Zimbabwe and, contrary to textbook statements, is often due to pernicious anaemia. Isolated folate deficiency is less common. As reported in industrialized countries 75 years ago, anaemia is almost always present and often severe. Neurological dysfunction due to vitamin B12 deficiency is most prominent in patients with mild to moderate anaemia.

PMID:
7880241
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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