Blackwell Publishing Journal Backfiles 1879-2005
Seven out of twenty anaemic pregnant women showed a reduced five-hour excretion of xylose. The defect was most marked in patients with megaloblastic anaemia. In two such patients the test had returned to normal 3 to 4 months after delivery, and further follow-up showed no clinical evidence of malabsorption. Thirteen of the twenty patients had reduced two-hour xylose excretion, but intravenous tests showed that the two-hour figure is an unreliable index of malabsorption in pregnancy anaemia, probably due to the dilution effect of an increased “xylose pool”. Low serum folate levels were found in all types of pregnancy anaemia, but values below 2.0 ng. per ml. were clinically relevant. Treatment of folate deficiency did not influence the abnormal xylose test. It is concluded that a substantial proportion of cases of folate-deficiency amaemia of pregnancy in Britain may have xylose malabsorption, and that in certain cases this defect is temporary.
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