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Iron-deficiency anemia with lithobezoar (pica): a rare cause of intestinal obstruction in a 5-year-old Nigerian child

Authors Ibrahim OR, Lugga AS, Ibrahim N, Ibrahim LM, Suleiman BM

Received 2 June 2018

Accepted for publication 17 July 2018

Published 17 September 2018 Volume 2018:11 Pages 225—228

DOI https://doi.org/10.2147/IMCRJ.S175653

Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewers approved by Dr Colin Mak

Peer reviewer comments 2

Editor who approved publication: Professor Ronald Prineas


Olayinka R Ibrahim, Abubakar S Lugga, Nuraddeen Ibrahim, Lawal M Ibrahim, Bello M Suleiman

Department of Pediatrics, Federal Medical Centre, Katsina, Katsina State, Nigeria

Background: Despite a high prevalence of iron-deficiency anemia (IDA) in developing countries such as Nigeria, intestinal obstruction secondary to lithobezoar (an accumulation of ingested stones within the gastrointestinal tract) is uncommon.
Case presentation: Herein, we report a case of acute intestinal obstruction secondary to ingestion of large pebbles and IDA in a 5-year-old Nigerian boy. The patient was managed conservatively with the use of laxatives and a rectal wash-out, and the pebbles were excreted over 3 days. Oral iron therapy was also commenced with cessation of pica.
Discussion: Although the direction of causal relationship between pica and IDA remains debatable, routine screening for iron deficiency among children with lithobezoar is recommended. Besides managing complications associated with lithobezoar, such as intestinal obstruction, prompt initiation of iron therapy among those who present with features of iron deficiency may be beneficial.

Keywords: lithobezoar, iron-deficiency anemia, intestinal obstruction, child

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