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Reticulocyte Hemoglobin Content for the Diagnosis of Iron Deficiency

Mateos, María Elena MD, PhD*; De-la-Cruz, Javier MD† ‡; López-Laso, Eduardo MD*; Valdés, María Dolores MD, PhD§; Nogales, Angel MD, PhD

Journal of Pediatric Hematology/Oncology: July 2008 - Volume 30 - Issue 7 - p 539-542
doi: 10.1097/MPH.0b013e31817580ca
Original Articles

Identification of iron deficiency (ID) is essential to initiate early treatment to prevent long-term systemic complications of ID anemia. This study was undertaken to evaluate the efficiency of the parameter reticulocyte hemoglobin content (CHr) compared with other laboratory parameters in the assessment of ID in a pediatric population. Blood samples were obtained for 237 children who received routine pediatric care visits in a primary care clinic (mean age: 63.7 mo; male:female ratio: 1.08:1). A multiple stepwise logistic regression analysis identified CHr as the most accurate marker independently associated to ID. A CHr cutoff value of 25 pg (sensitivity: 94%; specificity: 80%) proved an optimal performance predicting ID. Therefore, we conclude that the hematologic parameter CHr constitutes a valuable screening tool for the identification of ID with or without anemia in childhood.

*Department of Pediatrics, University Hospital Reina Sofía, Córdoba

Clinical Epidemiology Unit

Departments of §Hematology

Pediatrics, University Hospital Doce de Octubre, Madrid


There are no potential conflicts of interest, real or perceived.

Reprints: María Elena Mateos, MD, PhD, Department of Pediatrics, University Hospital Reina Sofía, Av. Menéndez Pidal, s/n, 14004 Córdoba, Spain (e-mail:

Received for publication July 13, 2007; accepted March 4, 2008

© 2008 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.