Test Background Selenium is an essential trace element. It is known to be an important cofactor in a variety of biological processes including: thyroid hormone production, antioxidants, glutathione pathway, immune response and mitochondrial function.
Deficiency manifests as both Keshan syndrome, a cardiomyopathy prevalent amongst children and women, and Kashin-Beck disease, which causes osteoarthropathy primarily afflicting children. These conditions typically arise in selenium-restricted diets, such as secondary to long-term parenteral nutrition, or deficiency due to the presence of an inborn error of metabolism.
Selenium has a low threshold of toxicity, commencing at approximately 10 times the dietary requirement.
Clinical Indications Suspected selenium deficiency, ie. patient on restricted diet such as total parenteral nutrition
Assessment of toxicity: symptoms may include gastrointestinal symptoms, garlic breath, hair loss, neurological impairment, fatigue, cirrhosis and pulmonary oedema