Effects of blood transfusion on exercise capacity in thalassemia major patients

Daniela Benedetto, Carmelo Massimo Rao, Claudia Cefalù, Demetrio Oreste Aguglia, Gaia Cattadori, Domenico Giuseppe D'ascola, Frank Antonio Benedetto, Piergiuseppe Agostoni, Susanna Sciomer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Anemia has an important role in exercise performance. However, the direct link between rapid changes of hemoglobin and exercise performance is still unknown.To find out more on this topic, we studied 18 beta-thalassemia major patients free of relevant cardiac dysfunction (age 33.5±7.2 years,males = 10). Patients performed a maximal cardiopulmolmonary exercise test (cycloergometer, personalized ramp protocol, breath-by-breath measurements of expired gases) before and the day after blood transfusion (500 cc of red cell concentrates). After blood transfusion, hemoglobin increased from 10.5±0.8 g/dL to 12.1±1.2 (p2 from 1408 to 1546mL/min (p2 at anaerobic threshold from 965 to 1024mL/min (p2 vs. workload relationship. The relationship between hemoglobin and VO2 changes showed, for each g/dL of hemoglobin increase, a VO2 increase = 82.5 mL/min and 35 mL/ min, at peak exercise and at anaerobic threshold, respectively. In beta-thalassemia major patients, an acute albeit partial anemia correction by blood transfusion determinates a relevant increase of exercise performance, observed both at peak exercise and at anaerobic threshold.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0127553
JournalPLoS One
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - May 1 2015

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Medicine(all)

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    Benedetto, D., Rao, C. M., Cefalù, C., Aguglia, D. O., Cattadori, G., D'ascola, D. G., Benedetto, F. A., Agostoni, P., & Sciomer, S. (2015). Effects of blood transfusion on exercise capacity in thalassemia major patients. PLoS One, 10(5), [e0127553]. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0127553