Serum Ferritin Levels Correlation With Heart and Liver MRI and LIC in Patients With Transfusion-Dependent Thalassemia

Zahra Majd, Sezaneh Haghpanah, Gholam Hossein Ajami, Sara Matin, Hamid Namazi, Marzieh Bardestani, Mehran Karimi
Iranian Red Crescent Medical Journal 2015, 17 (4): e24959

BACKGROUND: Iron-loaded cardiac complication is the essential cause of mortality in patients with thalassemia. Early detection and treatment of cardiac over-load can reduce mortality.

OBJECTIVES: The current study aimed to evaluate the relationship between serum ferritin levels and T2* magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) of heart and liver and liver iron concentration (LIC) to diagnose iron over load in countries with limited access.

PATIENTS AND METHODS: In the current cross-sectional study, 85 Iranian patients with thalassemia with the mean age of 22.7 ± 7 years were randomly selected. All patients were on regular blood transfusion. Echocardiography of heart and liver T2* MRI, determination of serum ferritin levels, and LIC were performed in all subjects at the same time. The correlation of serum ferritin levels with T2*MRI of heart and liver, and LIC was assessed. P value < 0.05 was considered statistically significant.

RESULTS: Abnormal myocardial iron load (T2* MRI < 20 ms) was detected in 58% of the patients and among whom, 36% had severe myocardial iron load (T2* MRI < 10 ms). Median and interquartile range of serum ferritin levels were 1434 and 2702 respectively in patients with thalassemia. Serum ferritin levels showed a statistically significant positive correlation with LIC (rs = 0.718, P < 0.001) and significant negative correlation with T2* Heart (rs = -0.329, P = 0.002), and T2* Liver (rs = -0.698, P < 0.001). However, Ejection fraction was not significantly correlated with serum ferritin levels in the patients (P = 0.399).

CONCLUSIONS: Serum ferritin levels can be used to diagnose iron over-load in patients with thalassemiaas an alternative method in areas where T2* MRI is not available.

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