“There is a large potential opportunity for saving lives by early identification of cardiac iron loading in Thalassemia patients”, declared Professor John-Paul Carpenter of the Royal Brompton CMR Unit in London at the 17th Congress of the European Hematology Association in Amsterdam.
Thalassemia major (TM) is a substantial health issue, with over 25,000 new transfusion- dependent children identified each year around the world. In most TM patients who receive regular transfusions, the accumulation of cardiac iron is the cause of heart failure and early death.
T2* cardiovascular magnetic resonance (CMR) provides a calibrated and reproducible measurement of myocardial iron which has contributed to improved survival in TM patients.
However, there is little data regarding myocardial iron loading and its relation to outcome across the world.
We report a survey of 3,411 patients in 34 centres which use T2* CMR.
Even in this cohort of well- treated TM patients from across the world which had access to regular transfusion, chelation and T2* CMR, a large proportion (42.3%) had moderate or severe myocardial iron loading.
There were substantial regional differences in the prevalence of cardiac iron overload which, despite differences in clinical care, may indicate varying predisposition to myocardial iron loading. T2* CMR identified those patients at increased risk with myocardial T2* values
(16 May 2013)