The records of 48 patients with homozygous β-thalassemia were reviewed for evidence of cholelithiasis by abdominal ultrasonography or plain abdominal X-ray. The presence of cholelithiasis was reported in 25 patients (52%). The incidence increased with age to 83% in patients over 31 years of age. Gallstones were more frequent among patients with β-thalassemia intermedia and with less blood transfusion requirements. Eleven patients with cholelithiasis (44%) became symptomatic. Eight received operations on an elective or semielective basis. Another patient had incidental cholecystectomy during splenectomy. The preoperative evaluation included abdominal ultrasonography, nucleotide biliary scan and evalulation of the cardiopulmonary status. Due to the longer survival of patients with homozygous β-thalassemia, the problem of cholelithiasis is becoming more frequent.
- Blood transfusions