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Advances in Hematology
Volume 2009, Article ID 964897, 4 pages
Review Article

Prevention of Cardiomyopathy in Transfusion-Dependent Homozygous Thalassaemia Today and the Role of Cardiac Magnetic Resonance Imaging

First Department of Medicine, University of Athens, “Laiko” Hospital, Goudi, Athens 11527, Greece

Received 12 September 2008; Accepted 5 March 2009

Academic Editor: Paolo Rebulla

Copyright © 2009 Athanassios Aessopos et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Transfusion and iron chelation therapy revolutionised survival and reduced morbidity in patients with transfusion-dependent beta thalassaemia major. Despite these improvements, cardiac disease remained the most common cause of death in those patients. Recently the ability to determine the degree of cardiac iron overload, through cardiac magnetic resonance imaging (CMR) has allowed more logical approaches to iron removal, particularly from the heart. The availability of two oral chelators, deferiprone and deferasirox has reduced the need for the injectable chelator deferrioxamine and an additional benefit has been that deferiprone has been shown to be more cardioprotective than deferrioxamine. This review on the prevention of cardiac disease makes recommendations on the chelation regime that would be desirable for patients according to their cardiac iron status as determined by CMR determined by CMR. It also discusses approaches to chelation management should CMR not be available.