Absence of cardiac siderosis despite hepatic iron overload in Italian patients with thalassemia intermedia: An MRI T2* study

Alberto Roghi, Maria Domenica Cappellini, John C. Wood, Khaled M. Musallam, Pedrotti Patrizia, Maria Rosaria Fasulo, Claudia Cesaretti, Ali T. Taher

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Cardiac involvement in patients with thalassemia intermedia (TI) is characterized by a high-output state and pulmonary hypertension, with systolic left ventricle function usually being preserved. Myocardial iron overload in patients with TI has not been extensively studied. We conducted a cross-sectional study of 49 Italian patients with TI. Patient charts were reviewed and data collected for transfusion and iron chelation history, status of the spleen, and comorbid illnesses or infections. Blood samples were obtained for assessment of hemoglobin, serum ferritin, and liver enzyme levels. Doppler echocardiography was done for all patients. Cardiac and hepatic iron levels were measured by magnetic resonance imaging T2*. The mean age was 40.5∈±∈8.3 years, with a male to female ratio of 29:20. A total of 34 (69.4%) patients were splenectomized, and four patients had evidence of hepatitis C infection. Around 45% of patients were transfusion naïve while the rest received infrequent (47%) or regular (8%) transfusions. A total of 31 (63.3%) patients were maintained on iron chelation therapy. None of the patients had evidence of heart failure. Mean serum ferritin and liver iron concentration were 1,060.2 ng/ml and 8.2 mg Fe per gram dry weight, respectively. None of the patients had evidence of cardiac iron overload (mean cardiac T2*∈=∈38.7∈±∈11.0 ms). There were no statistically significant correlation between cardiac T2* values and liver iron concentration, serum ferritin, or any patient, disease, or treatment-related parameters. Patients with TI show absence of cardiac iron overload even if hepatic iron accumulation is significant.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)585-589
Number of pages5
JournalAnnals of Hematology
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2010


  • Heart
  • Iron overload
  • Liver
  • Magnetic resonance imaging
  • Thalassemia intermedia

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Hematology


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