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June 1984

The Utility of Serum Gastrin Levels in Assessing the Significance of Low Serum B12 Levels

Author Affiliations

From the Nuclear Medicine (Drs Slingerland and Burrows and Mr Cardarelli) and Medical Services (Dr Miller), Veterans Administration Medical Center, and Boston University School of Medicine (Drs Slingerland, Burrows, and Miller).

Arch Intern Med. 1984;144(6):1167-1168. doi:10.1001/archinte.1984.00350180079013

• Elevated levels of serum gastrin as a consequence of gastric achlorhydria are characteristic of clinical pernicious anemia. In a largely male hospitalized population with an average age of 64 years, 7.7% had low levels of serum B12 (<170 pg/mL); only 2.5% of these had frank pernicious anemia. In an attempt to separate a subgroup with low levels of serum B12 in whom pernicious anemia may later develop, their serum gastrin levels were determined. Twenty-two percent had high values and, of these, 70% had low B12 absorptions. In patients with low serum B12 levels, serum gastrin assays may be useful in determining those in whom clinical pernicious anemia seems likely to develop.

(Arch Intern Med 1984;144:1167-1168)

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