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August 1965

Gastrointestinal Function in Iron-Deficiency Anemia

Author Affiliations


From the Veterans Administration Hospital, Dearborn. Mich, Wayne State University School of Medicine, Detroit, Pahlevi University Medical School and the Nemazee Hospital, Shiraz, Iran.

Deputy Assistant Chief Medical Director for Research and Education, Veterans Administration, Washington, DC; formerly Associate Chief of Staff for Research, Veterans Administration Hospital, Dearborn, Mich, and Professor of Medicine, Wayne State University School of Medicine (Dr. Halsted). Associate Professor of Medicine, Wayne State University School of Medicine, and Consulting Physician, Veterans Administration Hospital, Dearborn, Mich (Dr. Prasad). Formerly Chief Resident in Medicine. Nemazee Hospital, Shiraz, Iran; presently Fellow in Cardiology, Department of Medicine, Seton Hall College of Medicine and Jersey City Medical Center (Dr. Nadimi).

Arch Intern Med. 1965;116(2):253-256. doi:10.1001/archinte.1965.03870020093017

THE PURPOSE of this report is to present findings relating to gastrointestinal function in 11 adult patients with severe and prolonged iron deficiency who were studied in Iran in 1960. Little information is available on intestinal function in iron deficiency. Furthermore, these patients had no blood loss. Iron-deficiency anemia in the absence of blood loss is excessively rare in the United States. Thus, our finding of this as a fairly common condition in Iran merits attention.

Until recent years, the relationship of the gastrointestinal tract to iron-deficiency anemia has been studied almost entirely in respect to gastric acidity. Faber 1 noted decreased gastric acidity in hypochromic anemia in 1913. Others have confirmed this observation, but it is generally believed that achlorhydria is the result rather than an etiological factor in iron-deficiency anemia. However, this question is still debatable.2-4

With the advent of more precise laboratory procedures for measurement