Iron deficiency anemia in newly diagnosed celiac disease in children

Minerva Pediatr. 2016 Feb;68(1):1-4.


Background: Celiac disease (CD) in children may occur with a wide spectrum of clinical manifestations: anemia is the most frequent extraintestinal manifestation, iron deficiency anemia (IDA) is the common presentation. In our study we aimed to assess IDA condition in a large cohort of pediatric patients with newly diagnosed CD.

Methods: Our study includes a cohort of 518 children (340 females and 178 males), 6 months-18 years old, joined between January 1990 and January 2013. We have analyzed hematological parameters and iron balance: serum iron, serum ferritin and serum transferrin levels. The diagnosis of IDA was considered on the basis of hemoglobin levels below -2SD, associated with serum iron and ferritin reduction, serum transferrin increase; all compared with the normal reference values for age.

Results: Of all patients, 156 patients (30.1%) had anemia, including 103 females (19.8%) and 53 males (10.2%); of these, 112 (21.62%) had IDA (in 18 cases associated with α- or β-thalassemia trait), 22 were thalassemic trait without iron deficiency and the remaining 19 suffered from other forms of anemia. One hundred fifteen patients (22.20%) with low ferritin levels but normal hemoglobin levels were considered as preanemic iron deficient patients.

Conclusion: Our data confirm that iron depletion and IDA represent a frequent finding at the diagnosis of CD. This significant relation existing between CD and iron deficiency should be considered by pediatricians at the diagnosis of CD in order to treat the patients.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Anemia, Iron-Deficiency / epidemiology*
  • Anemia, Iron-Deficiency / etiology
  • Celiac Disease / complications*
  • Celiac Disease / diagnosis
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Cohort Studies
  • Female
  • Ferritins / blood
  • Hemoglobins / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Iron / blood*
  • Male
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Transferrin / metabolism


  • Hemoglobins
  • Transferrin
  • Ferritins
  • Iron