Hepatic veno-occlusive disease (VOD) is a common complication of haematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT), with reported incidences of 5-40% in children. Recently, defibrotide (DF) has been successfully used as prophylaxis and treatment of VOD. This study reports data on 63 human leucocyte antigen-matched HSCT performed in 57 children affected by beta thalassemia at very high risk for developing VOD (liver fibrosis, iron overload, hepatitis C virus infections, busulphan-based conditioning, methotraexate + ciclosporine). All patients received a busulphan-based conditioning regimen, either orally (four HSCT) or intravenously (59 HSCT). All patients received oral DF (40 mg/kg per day, final dose) as VOD prophylaxis from median day -9 to median day +29. In order to overcome the lack of oral paediatric formulations, a galenic formulation was administered. DF was well tolerated. Only one patient fulfilled Seattle Criteria for VOD diagnosis. This patient had discontinued DF 6 d prior to VOD onset, due to high risk of haemorrhage. We concluded that oral defibrotide prophylaxis and i.v. busulphan safely abated VOD incidence in high-risk patients who had undergone HSCT. A galenic preparation of oral DF also permits this treatment in low-weight patients. Costs of DF prophylaxis are acceptable considering the reduced incidence of VOD.
- Veno-occlusive disease
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