Vitamin B12 screening in older inpatients without known risk factors: why do clinicians measure it?

Celia S M Ting, John C Oldroyd and Michele R Levinson
Med J Aust 2012; 197 (8): . || doi: 10.5694/mja11.11516
Published online: 15 October 2012

To the Editor: Tests for serum vitamin B12 and red cell folate levels are commonly requested in elderly inpatients1 to rule out reversible causes of cognitive impairment (eg, delirium).2 This imposes some cost on the community. The evidence for the association of cognitive impairment and vitamin B12 deficiency is inconclusive.3,4 It is also unclear whether other markers, such as elevated mean corpuscular volume (MCV) and anaemia, can indicate the need for vitamin B12 testing in elderly inpatients without known risk factors for vitamin B12 deficiency (such as coeliac disease and pernicious anaemia).

  • Celia S M Ting
  • John C Oldroyd
  • Michele R Levinson

  • Cabrini Institute, Cabrini Health, Melbourne, VIC.


Competing interests:

No relevant disclosures.


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