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Aetiologies of low alkaline phosphatase in a Canadian Paediatric Tertiary Care Centre.

OBJECTIVES: Increasingly, laboratories flag low serum alkaline phosphatase (sALP) that are age-and sex-specific in paediatrics. The aim of this study was to report clinical manifestations of paediatric patients with age-and sex-specific low sALP, thereby increasing awareness of its potential aetiologies.

METHODS: This retrospective Canadian tertiary care paediatric hospital study assessed all sALP of ambulatory patients aged less than 18 years from 2015 to 2017. The hospital used a Beckman Coulter AU assay to measure sALP and compared values to the Canadian age-and sex-specific reference intervals from CALIPER. All children who had at least one subnormal age-and sex-specific sALP were evaluated. A review of medical charts of included patients was performed and demographic characteristics, medical history and diagnosis were collected, and categorized under groups of medical disorders.

RESULTS: Of 11,874 included patients, 1,001 patients (9.2%) had low sALP. Of those, 48% (485/1,001) had transient low sALP activity and 9.6% (96/1,001) had persistently low sALP. Prolonged immobilization and inflammatory bowel disease represented the main aetiologies for persistently low sALP. Interestingly, 13.5% (13/96) of patients with persistently low sALP had no apparent aetiology.

CONCLUSIONS: Our results report aetiologies of low sALP in a Canadian paediatric population using age-and sex-specific Canadian reference ranges. This study highlights that healthcare providers should be aware that a low sALP may have clinical significance and should be repeated if warranted based on further clinical assessment.

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