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Laboratory Evaluation for Vitamin B12 Deficiency: The Case for Cascade Testing.
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  23262189     Owner:  NLM     Status:  Publisher    
ObjectivePotential vitamin B(12) deficiency is a common clinical diagnostic problem, and many providers have a low threshold for initiating therapy. The goal of this study was to systematically evaluate current practice patterns regarding the laboratory evaluation of suspected vitamin B(12) deficiency.MethodsThis retrospective study reviewed the electronic medical records of 192 patients initiated on intramuscular vitamin B(12) injections.ResultsOnly 12 patients had objectively documented hematologic responses: decrease of mean corpuscular volume by ≥5 fL with stable or improved hemoglobin. Another 5 patients had equivocal hematologic responses. There was one plausible neurologic response. Thus, only 18 (9.4%) of 192 patients had data supportive of a clinical response. In these 18 patients, the baseline serum B(12) level was ≤107 pg/mL; only 3 also had a baseline serum methylmalonic acid level, which was ≥1.29 umole/L in all 3.ConclusionsCurrently, only a small minority of patients initiated on intramuscular vitamin B(12) supplementation derive any meaningful clinical benefit. Furthermore, current testing recommendations for vitamin B(12) deficiency are usually not followed. Up-front ordering of a diagnostic testing cascade is recommended to improve compliance; an example is presented with decision points chosen to improve specificity for clinically evident vitamin B(12) deficiency without loss of sensitivity. Ultimately, a better understanding of vitamin B(12) physiology is needed to develop and evaluate laboratory tests that more accurately reflect true intracellular vitamin B(12) status.
Richard L Berg; Gene R Shaw
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Publication Detail:
Type:  JOURNAL ARTICLE     Date:  2012-12-21
Journal Detail:
Title:  Clinical medicine & research     Volume:  -     ISSN:  1554-6179     ISO Abbreviation:  Clin Med Res     Publication Date:  2012 Dec 
Date Detail:
Created Date:  2012-12-24     Completed Date:  -     Revised Date:  -    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  101175887     Medline TA:  Clin Med Res     Country:  -    
Other Details:
Languages:  ENG     Pagination:  -     Citation Subset:  -    
*Biomedical Informatics Research Center, Marshfield Clinic Research Foundation, Marshfield, Wisconsin, USA.
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