Article Text

  1. N Vendt1,
  2. H Grynberg2,
  3. P Kool1,
  4. M Oona3,
  5. H-I Maaroos3
  1. 1Department of Paediatrics, University of Tartu, Tartu, Estonia
  2. 2Children’s Clinic, Tartu University Hospital, Tartu, Estonia
  3. 3Department of Family Medicine, University of Tartu, Tartu, Estonia


Objective Recent studies have suggested an association between Helicobacter pylori infection and iron deficiency. The aims were to investigate the prevalence and background factors of iron deficiency and H pylori infection in children.

Methods Consecutive outpatients aged 6–18 years, in whom a blood test was taken at the Unit of General Paediatrics, Children’s Clinic, in 2006–7, were asked to participate in the study. The child or the parent filled in a questionnaire on health problems, lifestyle and eating habits. Haemoglobin, mean corpuscular volume, serum ferritin, soluble transferrin receptors (s-TfR), C-reactive protein (CRP) and anti-H pylori IgG were measured. Children with increased CRP (>5 mg/l) were excluded.

Results Altogether 89% (n  =  288) of participating children were included in final analysis. The children were categorised into three groups by age: 6–12 years (n  =  105), 13–15 years (n  =  105) and 16–18 years (n  =  78). Iron deficiency (ferritin <12 μg/l) was found in 14% (n  =  42) of the children and 3% (n  =  9) had also anaemia (haemoglobin <115 g/l). The highest prevalence of iron deficiency, 22% (p<0.005) was found in children aged 16–18 years. The main background factor for developing iron deficiency in girls was the onset of menstruation (odds ratio 14; 95% CI 2 to 104). Altogether, 83 (29%) children were H pylori seropositive. We did not find any significant differences between the age groups or between the values of haemoglobin, mean corpuscular volume, ferritin or sTfR for children with or without H pylori seropositivity.

Conclusion Iron deficiency was commonest in children aged 16–18 years. Almost one third of all children were H pylori seropositive. H pylori seropositivity did not affect the development of iron deficiency.

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