Case Report | Published:

Zinc-induced copper deficiency in a coin swallower

American Journal of Gastroenterology volume 95, pages 29752977 (2000) | Download Citation



In humans, acquired copper deficiency anemia is rare. This report describes a 58-yr-old man with metal pica, especially coins, who presented with symptomatic anemia. His workup led to the diagnosis of zinc-induced copper deficiency. We believe that, in this man, leaching of zinc from pennies explained the clinical and laboratory findings. This case demonstrates that health care workers should consider the possibility of zinc-induced copper deficiency when confronted with patients with unexplained anemia who have ingested coins or other zinc-containing metals.

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  1. Division of Digestive Diseases and Nutrition, John L. McClellan Memorial Veterans Hospital, University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, Little Rock, Arkansas, USA

    • Hassan A Hassan
    • , Catherine Netchvolodoff
    •  & Jean-Pierre Raufman


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Correspondence to Hassan A Hassan.

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