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Revista Panamericana de Salud Pública

On-line version ISSN 1680-5348Print version ISSN 1020-4989


COHEN, Jennifer Hadary  and  HAAS, Jere D.. Hemoglobin correction factors for estimating the prevalence of iron deficiency anemia in pregnant women residing at high altitudes in Bolivia. Rev Panam Salud Publica [online]. 1999, vol.6, n.6, pp.392-399. ISSN 1680-5348.

This study had two primary objectives: 1) to derive a method to determine hemoglobin cutoffs that could be used to better estimate the prevalence of iron deficiency anemia in pregnancy at high altitudes and 2) to estimate the prevalence of anemia in a sample of pregnant women residing in two cities in Bolivia, La Paz (3 600 meters) and El Alto (4 000 meters). We derived a hemoglobin-altitude curve from previously published data on the mean hemoglobin concentrations of nonanemic women of childbearing age at various altitudes. In addition, we abstracted data on hemoglobin concentration during pregnancy from medical records of women from La Paz and El Alto who had given birth at a maternity hospital in La Paz between January and June of 1996. Using our approach and two other previously published, currently used methods, we calculated and compared prevalences of iron deficiency anemia in this population using hemoglobin cutoffs determined from a hemoglobin-altitude curve corrected for pregnancy. The hemoglobin-altitude curve derived in this study provided a better fit to data for women of childbearing age than the two other models. Those models used cutoffs based on non-iron-replete populations of children or men, both of which were residing below 4 000 m, and then extrapolated to women and higher altitudes. The estimated prevalences of iron deficiency anemia in pregnancy using the hemoglobin cutoffs determined in this study were higher than those estimated by the two other approaches.

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