JOURNAL ARTICLE
RESEARCH SUPPORT, NON-U.S. GOV'T
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Long-term improvement in cardiac magnetic resonance in β-thalassemia major patients treated with deferasirox extends to patients with abnormal baseline cardiac function.

The management of iron overload in thalassemia has changed dramatically since the implementation of magnetic resonance imaging, which allows detection of preclinical iron overload and prevention of clinical complications. This study evaluated the effect of deferasirox (DFX), the newest once-daily oral chelator, on cardiac function, iron overload and cardiovascular events over a longer follow up in a "real world" setting. Longitudinal changes in cardiac magnetic resonance T2*, cardiac function parameters and cardiovascular clinical events were assessed in a cohort of 98 TM patients exposed to DFX for a mean of 6.9 years (range 1.8-11.6 years). No cardiac death or incident heart failure occurred. Cardiac T2* significantly increased (+2.6 ± 11.9 msec; P = 0.035) in the whole population, with a significantly greater increase (+11.6 ± 15.5 msec, P = 0.019) in patients with cardiac iron overload (T2* <20 ms). A significant improvement in left-ventricular ejection fraction (LVEF) (from 50.6 ± 6 to 60.2 ± 5; P = 0.001) was observed in 11 (84.6%) out of 13 patients who normalized cardiac function (LVEF >56%). Arrhythmias were the most frequent cardiac adverse event noted but none led to DFX discontinuation. Our data indicate that DFX is effective in maintaining cardiac iron level in the normal range and in improving cardiac iron overload. No heart failure or cardiac death was reported over this longer observation up to 12 years. For the first time, a DFX-induced improvement in LVEF was observed in a subgroup of patients with abnormal cardiac function at baseline, a preliminary observation which deserves further evaluation.

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