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This practical guide outlines an approach for the diagnosis, treatment and follow-up of children with iron deficiency anaemia, a common clinical problem seen by GPs and paediatricians.
- Iron deficiency anaemia in children is common and is most prevalent among toddlers and preschoolers.
- Dietary deficiency is the most common cause; a small number of patients will need investigations for other causes.
- Serum iron must not be used to assess iron stores; ferritin provides the most useful information about iron stores.
- Oral iron therapy is the most appropriate treatment for most patients; intravenous iron is indicated for a select few.
- The rate of haematological response is similar for oral and intravenous iron.
- Intravenous iron is not appropriate for iron deficiency without anaemia.
- Most children with iron deficiency anaemia do not need tertiary haematology care, and can be managed confidently by their GP or paediatrician.