The Complete Blood Count (CBC) is a test that is routinely conducted on children who come to the Pediatric Emergency Department (PED) with an infectious disease. The CBC can also be used to check for iron-deficient anemia. This study was to see how common low Mean Cell Volume (MCV) is in children who had a CBC done at a PED visit and whether doctors reacted to the abnormal value. A retrospective cohort study was presented. Researchers looked at the PED charts of all children aged 6 to 36 months who had a CBC performed during the period of 4 months and found that the red blood cell means low cell volume. The key outcome variable was whether the apparent iron deficit was addressed by documentation of either iron therapy or additional inquiry.
CBCs were performed on 938 children during the two periods. 78 (8%) of them had an abnormal MCV or Hemoglobin that had no previously diagnosed cause. In 27 cases (35%, 95% CI: 24–46%), physicians documented therapy or follow-up investigations. The following factors were linked to the physician writing either therapy or an investigation plan: hemoglobin level (OR 12.6; 95% CI: 4.0, 39) and age under 18 months (OR 4.2; 95% CI: 1.4, 13). Children who have had a CBC in the PED can be checked for iron deficiency at no additional cost. Doctors may underutilize this information.
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