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Status of Thyroid Function and Iron Overload in Adolescents and Young Adults with Beta- Thalassemia Major Treated with Deferoxamine in Jordan

Authors: Fawzi Irshaid, Kamal Mansi


Thyroid dysfunction is one of the most frequently reported complications of chronic blood transfusion therapy in patients with beta-thalassemia major (BTM). However, the occurrence of thyroid dysfunction and its possible association with iron overload in BTM patients is still under debate. Therefore, this study aimed to investigate the status of thyroid functions and iron overload in adolescent and young adult patients with BTM in Jordan population. Thirty six BTM patients aged 12-28 years and matched controls were included in this study. All patients have been receiving frequent blood transfusion to maintain pretransfusion hemoglobin concentration above 10 g dl-1 and deferoxamine at a dose of 45 mg kg-1 day-1 (8 h, 5-7 days/week) by subcutaneous infusion. Blood samples were drawn from patients and controls. The status of thyroid functions and iron overload was evaluated by measurements of serum free thyroxine (FT4), triiodothyronine (FT3), thyrotropin (TSH) and serum ferritin level. A number of some hematological and biochemical parameters were also measured. It was found that hematocrit, serum ferritin, hemoglobin, FT3 and zinc, copper mean values were significantly higher in the patients than in the controls (P< 0.05). On other hand, leukocyte, FT4 and TSH mean values were similar to that of the controls. In addition, our data also indicated that all of the above examined parameters were not significantly affected by the patient-s age and gender. Deferoxamine approach for removing excess iron from our BTM patient did not normalize the values of serum ferritin, copper and zinc, suggesting poor compliance with deferoxamine chelation therapy. Thus, we recommend the use of a combination of deferoxamine and deferiprone to reduce the risk of excess of iron in our patients. Furthermore, thyroid dysfunction appears to be a rare complication, because our patients showed normal mean levels for serum TSH and FT4. However, high mean levels of serum ferritin, zinc, copper might be seen as potential risk factors for initiation and development of thyroid dysfunctions and other diseases. Therefore, further studies must be carried out at yearly intervals with large sample number, to detect subclinical thyroid dysfunction cases.

Keywords: beta-thalassemia major, deferoxamine, iron overload, triiodothyronine, zinc.

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