Electrocardiographic Presentation, Cardiac Arrhythmias, and Their Management in β-Thalassemia Major Patients

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Abstract

Beta-thalassemia major (β-TM) is a genetic hemoglobin disorder characterized by an absent synthesis of globin chains that are essential for hemoglobin formation, causing chronic hemolytic anemia. Clinical management of thalassemia major consists in regular long-life red blood cell transfusions and iron chelation therapy to remove iron introduced in excess with transfusions. Iron deposition in combination with inflammatory and immunogenic factors is involved in the pathophysiology of cardiac dysfunction in these patients. Heart failure and arrhythmias, caused by myocardial siderosis, are the most important life-limiting complications of iron overload in beta-thalassemia patients. Cardiac complications are responsible for 71% of global death in the beta-thalassemia major patients. The aim of this review was to describe the most frequent electrocardiographic abnormalities and arrhythmias observed in β-TM patients, analyzing their prognostic impact and current treatment strategies.

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