β-Thalassemia: the Lebanese experience

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Abstract

Summary

β-Thalassemia is a hereditary anemia that is quite prevalent in Lebanon. Most patients with β-Thalassemia are treated and followed up mostly at a multidisciplinary center, located in the suburban area of Beirut: the Chronic Care Center (CCC), operational since 1994. We will review the experience with β-Thalassemia accumulated through this institution. Four hundred and twenty five patients, aged 2 to 68 years are followed up at the CCC. Sixty four percent have thalassemia major (TM) while 36% have thalassemia intermedia (TI). Lebanese patients with TM receive periodic packed red cell transfusions to maintain a pre-transfusional hemoglobin level of 10 gm/dl at all times and desferrioxamine is the standard iron chelator in use. Since 1994, 12 patients with TM have died from complications of their disease, with heart failure being responsible for the majority of deaths. The incidence of cardiac, endocrinologic, and infectious complications will be reviewed. Finally, both current and prospective preventive measures will be discussed, specifically educational campaigns and premarital screening. The effects of prevention are starting to show as the number of newly diagnosed disease is diminishing.

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