Reversal of cardiac complications in thalassemia major by long-term intermittent daily intensive iron chelation

H. Miskin, I. Yaniv, M. Berant, C. Hershko, Hannah Tamary

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objectives: In patients with thalassemia major (TM) who are non-compliant with long-term deferoxamine (DFO) chelation, survival is limited mainly because of cardiac complications of transfusional siderosis. It was recently shown in a small group of TM patients with established cardiac damage that continuous 24-h DFO infusion via an indwelling intravenous (i.v.) catheter is effective in reversing cardiac toxicity. The aim of the present study was to evaluate the results with intermittent daily (8-10 h) i.v. DFO. Patients: Eight TM patients with cardiac complications treated with intensive intermittent DFO were retrospectively evaluated by the mean annual serum ferritin, radionucleated ventriculography and 24-h electrocardiography recordings. Results: The median age at diagnosis of cardiac disease was 17.5 yr (range 14-21), and the median follow-up time was 84 months (range, 36-120). In the majority of patients (seven of eight) high-dose DFO (mean 95 ± 18.3 mg/kg/d) was administered via a central venous line. During follow-up, there was a significant decrease in the mean ferritin levels (5828 ± 2016 ng/mL to 1585 ± 1849 ng/mL, P < 0.001). Both cardiac failure (mean ejection fraction 32 ± 5) and cardiac arrhythmias were resolved in four of five patients. One non-compliant patient died during the follow-up. Following discontinuation of the i.v. therapy, compliance with conventional DFO therapy improved. The complications of this regimen, mainly catheter-related infections and catheter-related thrombosis, were similar to those described earlier. Conclusions: These results with the longest follow-up period in the literature suggest that i.v. high-dose DFO for 8-10 h daily may be as effective as continuous 24-h infusion for the reversal of established cardiac disease in TM.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)398-403
Number of pages6
JournalEuropean Journal of Haematology
Issue number6
StatePublished - 1 Jun 2003
Externally publishedYes


  • Arrhythmia
  • Congestive heart failure
  • Intravenous deferoxamine
  • Iron overload
  • Thalassemia major


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