January 20, 1969

Pagophagia and Iron Lack

Author Affiliations

From the Hematology-Oncology Section, Department of Medicine, Wilford Hall USAF Hospital, Aerospace Medical Division (AFSC), Lackland Air Force Base, Texas.

JAMA. 1969;207(3):513-516. doi:10.1001/jama.1969.03150160025005

Iron lack was associated with an unusual perversion of appetite characterized by the ingestion of extraordinary amounts of ice. Pagophagia is defined as the purposeful ingestion of at least one ordinary tray of ice daily for a period in excess of two months. The symptom appears to be related to iron lack and is completely resolved with amounts of iron less than those required for resolution of the anemia or replenishment of iron stores. The data on the rates of repair of mucosal cytochrome and blood-cell hemoglobin coincide with the temporal relationship between the resolution of pagophagia and the correction of iron-lack anemia.