New Delhi: Deworming therapy helped doctors cure a 14-year-old boy, whose intestines were infested with hookworms since the last two years and had sucked out 22 liters of blood.
The rarely-used vitamin capsule-size endoscopy recommended by the doctors made it possible to diagnose the boy's problem.
According to doctors, the boy was referred to Sir Ganga Ram Hospital (SRGH) in August last year with complaints of passage of blood in his stool.
"The child was suffering from iron deficiency anemia for the last two years. He was being managed with repeated blood transfusions and received 50 units (22 liters) of blood transfusions in the last two years," said Anil Arora, Chairperson of Gastroenterology Department at SRGH.
Arora said the patient's diagnosis could not be established despite various repeated tests including esophagogastroduodenoscopy (EGD), colonoscopy and radiographic studies of the intestine.
The patient's hemoglobin was low at 5.86. As the problem persisted and there was gastrointestinal bleeding, the doctor decided to go for the rarely-used Capsule endoscopy.
Capsule endoscopy is a procedure that uses a tiny wireless camera to take pictures of the digestive tract. A capsule endoscopy camera sits inside a vitamin-sized capsule that the patient has to swallow.
Calling the findings "shocking", Arora said: "We could see multiple hookworms buried in the small intestine and were seen actively sucking blood with dancing movements.
"Sucked blood could be seen in the cavity of hookworms, giving a red color to them. White colored hookworms who had not yet sucked blood were seen lying quietly in the small bowel."
"After treatment, the child recovered and his hemoglobin increased to 11 gm/dl," said Arora, describing the health condition of the patient.
The rare medical case has been published in the latest edition of Journal of Infectious Diseases and Therapy.
"Conventionally, hookworm infestation is found commonly in the Asian population. The manifestation of hookworms can be prevented by avoiding barefoot walking and maintenance of food hygiene," he said.
(With IANS inputs)