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Serum ferritin levels, socio-demographic factors and desferrioxamine therapy in multi-transfused thalassemia major patients at a government tertiary care hospital of Karachi, Pakistan

Haris Riaz1*, Talha Riaz2, Muhammad Ubaid Khan1, Sina Aziz3, Faizan Ullah1, Anis Rehman2, Qandeel Zafar4 and Abdul Nafey Kazi5

Author Affiliations

1 House officer, Civil Hospital Karachi, Pakistan

2 Medical graduates, Civil Hospital Karachi, Pakistan

3 Associate Professor, Department of Paediatrics, Dow University of Health Sciences, Karachi, Pakistan

4 Electives students, Department of Paediatrics, Civil Hospital Karachi, student of King's College, London, UK

5 Medical student, Dow Medical College, Karachi, Pakistan

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BMC Research Notes 2011, 4:287  doi:10.1186/1756-0500-4-287

Published: 11 August 2011

Abstract

Background

Beta thalassemia is the most frequent genetic disorder of haemoglobin synthesis in Pakistan. Recurrent transfusions lead to iron-overload manifested by increased serum Ferritin levels, for which chelation therapy is required.

Findings

The study was conducted in the Pediatric Emergency unit of Civil Hospital Karachi after ethical approval by the Institutional Review Board of Dow University of Health Sciences. Seventy nine cases of beta thalassemia major were included after a written consent. The care takers were interviewed for the socio-demographic variables and the use of Desferrioxamine therapy, after which a blood sample was drawn to assess the serum Ferritin level. SPSS 15.0 was employed for data entry and analysis.

Of the seventy-nine patients included in the study, 46 (58.2%) were males while 33 (41.8%) were females. The mean age was 10.8 (± 4.5) years with the dominant age group (46.2%) being 10 to 14 years. In 62 (78.8%) cases, the care taker education was below the tenth grade. The mean serum Ferritin level in our study were 4236.5 ng/ml and showed a directly proportional relationship with age. Desferrioxamine was used by patients in 46 (58.2%) cases with monthly house hold income significant factor to the use of therapy.

Conclusions

The mean serum Ferritin levels are approximately ten times higher than the normal recommended levels for normal individuals, with two-fifths of the patients not receiving iron chelation therapy at all. Use of iron chelation therapy and titrating the dose according to the need can significantly lower the iron load reducing the risk of iron-overload related complications leading to a better quality of life and improving survival in Pakistani beta thalassemia major patients.

Conflicts of Interest: None

Keywords:
Beta thalassemia major; Ferritin; Desferrioxamine; Socio-demographic factors; Pakistan