Iron Deficiency Anemia Differential Diagnoses

Updated: Aug 23, 2023
  • Author: James L Harper, MD; Chief Editor: Emmanuel C Besa, MD  more...
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Diagnostic Considerations

Other conditions to be considered include the following:

  • Anemia of chronic disorders
  • Hemoglobin CC disease
  • Hemoglobin DD disease
  • Lead poisoning
  • Microcytic anemias
  • Autoimmune hemolytic anemia
  • Hemoglobin S-beta thalassemia

Go to Anemia, Sideroblastic Anemias, and Chronic Anemia for complete information on these topics.

In a meta-analysis of indices for discriminating between iron deficiency anemia and thalassemia trait in subjects with microcytic red blood cells (RBCs), the ratio of microcytic to hypochromic RBCs (M/H ratio) showed the best performance. An M/H ratio >6.4 was strongly indicative of thalassemia. The authors concluded that the sensitivity and specificity of the M/H ratio are not high enough for making a definitive diagnosis, but the ratio can be valuable for identifying patients with microcytic RBC who should undergo diagnostic tests for confirming thalassemia. [17]

Differential Diagnoses