Referral trends of vitamin b12 testing to a community medical practice laboratory in Jordan

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Author: 
Dr. Adeeb Al- Amoush and Dr. Qasem Abu Shaqra
Abstract: 

A Vitamin B12 deficiency is a prevalent health problem worldwide. Screening populations for this deficiency is neither feasible nor recommended. Available strategies advocate testing when signs and symptoms are suggestive of vitamin B12 deficiency. The aim of this investigation was to determine the referral trend of Vitamin B12 by health service providers to a community medical practice laboratory in Jordan. From January to December of 2014 a total of 208 patients were referred to the Diagnostic Medical Laboratory for vitamin B12 testing and all were included in this study. The percentage of patients referred to the same laboratory for Vitamin B12 testing constituted 2.45 % of the total number of patients received. The majority of the referred patients were female (63%) and the highest proportion of patients in both genders was stratified in the 21- 40 years age group (46%), whereas the lowest referral was in patients below 20 years of age (3.7%). Internists, general practitioners and Gynecologist (in a descending order) accounted for 79.4 % of all referrals. Memory impairment and numbness were the most clinical manifestations which perhaps resulted in most of the referrals. Only 26 % of the referred subjects were with normal vitamin B12 level whereas 36 % and 38 % were identified as on the borderline or with frank vitamin B12 deficiency, respectively. It is concluded that health service providers in the private medical practice of Jordan are rationale in requesting Vitamin B12 test for their patients.

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