The role of magnetic resonance imaging in the evaluation of thalassemic syndromes: current practice and future perspectives

  • Sophie Mavrogeni | soma13@otenet.gr Onassis Cardiac Surgery Center, Athens, Greece.
  • George Markousis-Mavrogenis Onassis Cardiac Surgery Center, Athens, Greece.
  • Genovefa Kolovou Onassis Cardiac Surgery Center, Athens, Greece.

Abstract

Iron can be deposited in all internal organs, leading to different types of functional abnormalities. However, myocardial iron overload that contributes to heart failure remains one of the main causes of death in thalassemia major. Using magnetic resonance imaging, tissue iron is detected indirectly by the effects on relaxation times of ferritin and hemosiderin iron interacting with hydrogen nuclei. The presence of iron in the human body results in marked alterations of tissue relaxation times. Currently, cardiovascular magnetic resonance using T2* is routinely used in many countries to identify patients with myocardial iron loading and guide chelation therapy, specifically tailored to the heart. Myocardial T2* is the only clinically validated non-invasive measure of myocardial iron loading and is superior to surrogates such as serum ferritin, liver iron, ventricular ejection fraction and tissue Doppler parameters. Finally, the substantial amelioration of patients’ survival, allows the detection of other organs’ abnormalities due to iron overload, apart from the heart, missed in the past. Recent studies revealed that iron deposition has a different pattern in various parenchymal organs, which is independent from serum ferritin and follows an individual way after chelation treatment application. This new upcoming reality orders a closer monitoring of all organs of the body in order to detect preclinical lesions and early apply adequate treatment.

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Published
2014-09-29
Keywords:
thalassemia major, magnetic resonance imaging, iron overload.
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How to Cite
Mavrogeni, S., Markousis-Mavrogenis, G., & Kolovou, G. (2014). The role of magnetic resonance imaging in the evaluation of thalassemic syndromes: current practice and future perspectives. Thalassemia Reports, 4(2). https://doi.org/10.4081/thal.2014.1859