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Volume 2015 (2015), Article ID 793025, 7 pages
Research Article

Prevalence and Risk Factors for Complications in Patients with Nontransfusion Dependent Alpha- and Beta-Thalassemia

1Division of Hematology, Department of Internal Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, Chiang Mai University, 110 Intravaroros Road, A. Muang, Chiang Mai 50200, Thailand
2Division of Hematology and Oncology, Department of Pediatrics, Faculty of Medicine, Chiang Mai University, 110 Intravaroros Road, A. Muang, Chiang Mai 50200, Thailand

Received 31 May 2015; Accepted 5 November 2015

Academic Editor: Aurelio Maggio

Copyright © 2015 Poramed Winichakoon 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.


Background. Nontransfusion dependent thalassemia (NTDT) is a milder form of thalassemia that does not require regular transfusion. It is associated with many complications, which differ from that found in transfusion-dependent thalassemia (TDT). Currently available information is mostly derived from beta-NTDT; consequently, more data is needed to describe complications found in the alpha-NTDT form of this disease. Methods. We retrospectively reviewed the medical records of NTDT patients from January 2012 to December 2013. Complications related to thalassemia were reviewed and compared. Results. One hundred patients included 60 females with a median age of 38 years. The majority (54 patients) had alpha-thalassemia. Overall, 83 patients had one or more complications. The three most common complications were cholelithiasis (35%), abnormal liver function (29%), and extramedullary hematopoiesis (EMH) (25%). EMH, cardiomyopathy, cholelithiasis, and pulmonary hypertension were more commonly seen in beta-thalassemia. Osteoporosis was the only complication that was more common in alpha-thalassemia. The risk factors significantly related to EMH were beta-thalassemia type and hemoglobin < 8 g/dL. The risk factors related to osteoporosis were female gender and age > 40 years. Iron overload (ferritin > 800 ng/mL) was the only risk factor for abnormal liver function. Conclusion. The prevalence of alpha-NTDT complications was lower and different from beta-thalassemia.