The aims of this study were: to determine whether there is an increased incidence of iron deficiency in paediatric otolaryngology inpatients compared with other surgical controls; and to establish whether preoperative screening of haemoglobin level is warranted in such patients.
Children aged 1–10 years admitted electively for ENT surgery or for general surgical procedures had blood taken for haemoglobin level, mean cell volume and serum ferritin. Their age, weight, socio-economic class and ethnic background were recorded.
A total of 100 patients entered the study, in a six-month period. The mean ages and weights for the two groups were statistically different, so allowance was made for this in calculations. Social class was not significantly different. No relationship could be established between haemoglobin level and ferritin level for individual patients. Multiple regression analysis for haemoglobin level, mean cell volume and for ferritin level showed that allowing for the age and weight differences these variables were not significantly different for the two groups.
This study has therefore shown no increased incidence of iron deficiency in paediatric ENT inpatients. Each Department should formulate its own policy on pre-operative haemoglobin screening, based on local considerations.