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Eur J Haematol. 1998 Apr;60(4):245-51.

Combined use of erythrocyte zinc protoporphyrin and mean corpuscular volume in differentiation of thalassemia from iron deficiency anemia.

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Laboratory of Hematology, Bosch Medicentrum, ś-Hertogenbosch, The Netherlands.


In a retrospective study the diagnostic value of erythrocyte zinc protoporphyrin (ZPP) measurement as a means of distinguishing iron deficiency anemia from thalassemia syndromes in patients with microcytosis was explored. ZPP values were increased in all patients with iron deficiency and in part of the patients with thalassemia. The combined measurement of erythrocyte mean corpuscular volume (MCV) and ZPP resulted in a correct classification of patients with iron deficiency and with thalassemia in more than 95%. The predictive value of this method is better than the results obtained by using formulae derived from red cell indices. In population screening programs for thalassemia syndromes, in which MCV determination is used as the initial test, the ZPP test is recommended as a second test, in order to discriminate between patients with microcytosis due to iron deficiency and patients with microcytosis due to thalassemia syndromes.

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