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Atrial fibrillation in β-thalassemia patients with a focus on the role of iron-overload and oxidative stress: A review.

Cardiac complications including arrhythmia and especially atrial fibrillation (AF) are common causes of death in β-thalassemia patients. The main factor in the etiopathogenesis of these complications is iron overload, which results in increased oxidative stress. Although there is a known association between cardiac complications and iron overload in β-thalassemia patients, there is no comprehensive review on AF and excessive iron with a focus on oxidative stress in these patients. The aim of this article was to review the different aspects of AF in β-thalassemia patients with a focus on the prevention and treatment of AF by using iron chelators and/or anti-oxidants. AF in β-thalassemia patients is more common than in the general population. One of the most important causes of AF is cardiac iron overload and the harmful effects of increased oxidative stress. Iron-induced AF can be reversed by using an intensive iron chelation regimen. Based on a few experimental studies, the combination of iron chelators with some anti-oxidants, including NAC, vitamin C, and acetaminophen, can lead to improved cardiac protection. However, the effect of such combinations on cardiac arrhythmias should be further evaluated with animal and human studies.

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