We studied serum vitamin E levels and the ratio of serum vitamin E to serum lipid levels in 11 children with chronic cholestasis complicated by vitamin E deficiency, as defined by characteristic neurologic signs or sural-nerve histopathology in addition to impaired intestinal absorption of vitamin E. Eight of the children had low levels of serum vitamin E, as well as low ratios of serum vitamin E to total lipids and to cholesterol. However, three patients had normal serum vitamin E levels but low ratios of serum vitamin E to total lipids (two of the three had normal ratios of vitamin E to cholesterol). In four patients who were not vitamin E-deficient, all three values were normal. We conclude that vitamin E deficiency may exist in a child with a normal serum vitamin E concentration and that the ratio of serum vitamin E to total serum lipids is the most reliable biochemical index of vitamin E status during chronic childhood cholestasis. (N Engl J Med 1984; 310: 1209–12.).
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