Zinc levels in serum and hair were estimated in 32 cases of Indian Childhood Cirrhosis (ICC)--14 in Stage II and 18 in Stage III. Levels were compared with 20 cases of age matched healthy controls. Mean serum zinc level in ICC was 62.0 +/- 13.10 micrograms/dl as compared to 115.7 +/- 12.62 micrograms/dl in controls. The difference was statistically significant. Further, mean level of serum zinc (70.78 +/- 12.95 micrograms/dl) in Stage II was significantly higher than the level 55.88 +/- 8.16 micrograms/dl in Stage III, thereby showing an inverse relationship with the severity of the disease. Mean hair zinc level of 144.53 +/- 23.26 micrograms/g in ICC was much lower than that of 172.5 micrograms/g in controls. The study revealed an altered state of zinc nutrition in children with ICC.
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