Clinical management of cardiovascular complications in patients with thalassaemia major: A large observational multicenter study

Giorgio Derchi, Francesco Formisano, Manuela Balocco, Renzo Galanello, Patrizio Bina, Carlo Dess, Antonio Piga, Guido Donato, Maria Domenica Cappellini, Elena Cassinerio, Gianni Quarta, Angela Melpignano, Gian Luca Forni

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Aims To determine the clinical management of cardiovascular complications, and the extent of cardiac left ventricular (LV) involvement, in a large cohort of homogenously treated patients with thalassaemia major. Methods and results Participants were ®, an Internet-shared database. Patients were considered to have evidence of cardiovascular disease if at least one cardiovascular drug was recorded in their file. The majority of patients (422 of 524; 80.5) had not taken any cardiovascular drug. Among those who had angiotensin-converting enzyme-inhibitors were the most commonly used (81 patients) and these were used by significantly more males than females (P <0.01). Patients in whom cardiovascular drugs were prescribed showed evidence of cardiac structural and/or functional abnormalities, inasmuch as fractional shortening and ejection fraction were significantly lower (31.3 vs. 35 and 54.4 vs. 60.6; both P <0.001) and LV end-diastolic diameter index was significantly higher (32.9 vs. 31.8; P 0.004). Interestingly, when compared with patients in whom cardiovascular drug therapy was not deemed necessary, transfusion period was longer in treated patients (26.2 vs. 24.5 years; P 0.002). Conclusion Approximately 19 of regularly transfused and chelated thalassaemia major patients need cardiovascular drug therapy. This subgroup is characterized by a dilated and mildly hypokinetic left ventricle when compared with the majority of thalassaemia major patients, who do not need any cardioactive drug. These data underscore the importance of careful evaluation of cardiac functional status in patients with thalassaemia major. Moreover, this database may serve as a clinically useful reference grid for echocardiograph values in this patient population.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)242-246
Number of pages5
JournalEuropean Journal of Echocardiography
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2011


  • Cardiac dysfunction
  • LV ejection fraction
  • Thalassaemia major

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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