Iron deficiency and Helicobacter pylori infection in children


N Vendt, Anaesthesiology and Intensive Care Clinic, Tartu University Hospital, Puusepa 8, EE 51014 Tartu, Estonia. Tel: +37-252-05160 | Fax: +37-273-19608 | Email:


Aim:  To examine the relationship between iron deficiency (ID) and Helicobacter pylori infection in school-aged children.

Methods:  Altogether 363 children from ambulatory admission were consecutively enrolled in the study. Haemoglobin (Hb), soluble transferrin receptor (sTfR), IgG against H. pylori and IgA against tissue transglutaminase were measured. The criteria for ID were sTfR > 5.7 mg/L in children aged 7–12 years and sTfR > 4.5 mg/L in older children, for anaemia Hb < 115 g/L in the younger group and Hb < 130 g/L for older boys and Hb < 120 g/L for girls.

Results:  Iron deficiency was found in 17% of the children, 5% had also anaemia. H. pylori colonization was detected in 27% and serum markers for coeliac disease in 0.6% of the children. The prevalence of ID and H. pylori seropositivity was higher in older children (23% and 29%, vs 9% and 22%, respectively). Children with H. pylori were significantly shorter [length SDS 1.0 (0.98–1.01) vs 0.98 (0.97–0.99)]. Older children had risk for ID (OR 1.1, 95% CI 1.0–1.3, p = 0.03). Although the prevalence of H. pylori seropositivity was higher in the ID group, it was not significantly associated with ID in multivariate analysis.

Conclusion: Helicobacter pylori seropositivity was not associated with ID. The associated factor for ID was age.