Pernicious Anemia in Chinese: A Study of 181 Patients in a Hong Kong Hospital

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To study the clinical and hematologic features of pernicious anemia in Chinese, we describe 181 Chinese with megaloblastic anemia and low serum cobalamin, in association with either classic Schilling test results (82 patients) or the presence of serum antibody to intrinsic factor (99 patients), encountered in a regional hospital in Hong Kong from May 1994 to May 2005. The median age was 75 years (range, 32-95 yr) and the male to female ratio was 1:1.5. The chief presenting feature was anemia, and fewer than 10% of patients presented predominantly with neurologic deficit. Gastric biopsies of 109 patients showed glandular atrophy in 73, endocrine cell hyperplasia in 5, polyps in 14, adenocarcinoma in 1, and chronic gastritis in the rest. Gastric adenocarcinoma occurred in 1.7% of patients after a median follow-up of 35 months (range, 0.5-132 mo). Diabetes mellitus occurred in 24% of patients and thyroid disease in 7%. No specific ABO blood group was associated with pernicious anemia. Serum antibody to intrinsic factor (73%) occurred more frequently than serum antibody to gastric parietal cell (65%) (p = 0.353). The frequency of serum antibody to gastric parietal cell was higher in male (78%) than in female patients (53%) (p = 0.018). Pernicious anemia is a major cause of megaloblastic anemia in Chinese.

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