Article Type

Original Study


Objectives The aim of this study was to assess the value of serum ferritin among protein energy malnutrition (PEM) patients with iron deficiency. Background Iron deficiency is the most common micronutrient deficiency seen in PEM and a common cause of morbidity and mortality in this condition. Patients and methods This was a case–control study in which participants were children diagnosed with PEM and controls were children with normal nutrition. Ninety consented participants and controls participated in the study with informed consent obtained from caregivers. Full blood count and examination of a peripheral blood smear, as well as serum ferritin concentration, was analysed by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. Data entry and analysis were carried out with a micro-computer using the SPSS, version 16, software packages. Results The mean age of the children with PEM was 22.7 ± 14.4 months. In the participants, prevalence of iron deficiency was 24.4%, whereas that of iron deficiency anaemia was 16.6%. Mean serum ferritin levels were significantly higher in the controls compared with participants (P = 0.000). The sensitivity and specificity of serum ferritin was 100.0% (95% confidence interval), and the likelihood ratio was 0.00 (95% confidence interval). Conclusion Patients with PEM were found to have high prevalence of iron deficiency anaemia and low serum ferritin levels. The sensitivity and specificity of serum ferritin levels were found to be high among PEM patients with iron deficiency anaemia.