Iron overload in non-transfusion-dependent thalassemia


Iron overload due to increased intestinal iron absorption remains a concern in patients with non-transfusion-dependent thalassemia (NTDT). A dynamic regulation between ineffective erythropiesis and iron metabolism in these disorders has been recently elucidated. Although the rate of iron loading in NTDT is slower than that observed in regularly transfused patients, the process is cumulative and patients may reach considerably high liver iron concentration levels. The clinical consequences of iron overload in patients with NTDT are various and include hepatic disease, endocrinopathy, bone disease, and vascular outcomes; while cardiac siderosis is less frequently observed. Although serum ferritin levels correlate with LIC in NTDT, they underestimate iron load when compared with transfusion-dependent patients with equivalent LIC. Therefore, direct measurement of LIC is recommended to identify patients at risk and guide iron chelation decisions.



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thalassemia intermedia, hemoglobin E/β-thalassemia, alpha thalassemia, iron overload, liver iron concentration, magnetic resonance imaging.
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How to Cite
Musallam, K. M. (2013). Iron overload in non-transfusion-dependent thalassemia. Thalassemia Reports, 3(1s), e11.