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J Gen Intern Med. 1989 Nov-Dec;4(6):512-3.

Pica: its frequency and significance in patients with iron-deficiency anemia due to chronic gastrointestinal blood loss.

Author information

1
Department of Medicine, Denver General Hospital, Colorado 80204-4507.

Abstract

PURPOSE:

Pica, particularly ice-eating (pagophagia), is a recognized symptom of iron deficiency. The value of pica as a clue to the etiology of blood loss has never been studied.

PATIENT POPULATION:

Fifty-five unselected patients with iron-deficiency anemia due to gastrointestinal blood loss evaluated by a gastroenterology referral service at a city hospital.

RESULTS:

The patients' mean hematocrit was 26 +/- 15% (SD). Thirty two (58%) had pica, and in 28 (88%) it manifested as pagophagia. Pica was present significantly more often in women (19/32, 68%) than in men (9/23, 39%, p less than 0.05). Pica occurred less frequently in patients with malignancy (2/9 vs. 30/46), but this difference was not significant.

CONCLUSION:

Pica, a frequent symptom in patients with iron-deficiency anemia due to gastrointestinal blood loss, particularly women, is not of value in predicting the cause of bleeding.

PMID:
2585159
DOI:
10.1007/bf02599550
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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