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Iron Overload in Beta Thalassaemia Major and Intermedia Patients
Background: In beta thalassaemia major multiple blood transfusions, ineffective erythropoiesis and increased gastrointestinal iron absorption lead to iron overload in the body. Iron overload impairs the immune system, placing patients at greater risk of infection and illness. Iron overload can be determined by serum ferritin measurement.
Objective: The aim of the present study is to assess the serum ferritin levels in multi-transfused Thalassaemia major and Thalassaemia intermedia patients. The study was also done to estimate the present situation of awareness of iron overload in them.
Methods: Seventy two blood samples from clinically diagnosed thalassaemia major and intermedia patients were collected from different tertiary care hospitals in Bhopal, India for their serum ferritin estimation. Serum ferritin measurement was performed using indirect enzyme linked immune sorbent based serum ferritin assay kit. Data were analyzed to determine association between variables. The association between age, sex, and serum ferritin level were established.
Results: 87.4% of the beta thalassaemia major patients showed very high ferritin levels. The mean serum ferritin level was found to be 2767.52 ng/ml. 44.4% patients had serum ferritin between 1000 to 2500 ng/ml, while 43.05% patients had values above 2500 ng/ml. These levels reflect inadequate chelation and vulnerability to develop iron overload related complications.
Conclusion: There is an urgent need to rationalize the chelation therapy and to create awareness about the consequences of iron overload in the patients. The study showed high levels of serum ferritin beta thalassaemia major patients which give an overall bleak view.
Keywords: beta thalassaemia major, iron overload, serum ferritin level