Despite the correct application of blood transfusions and chelation treatments, beta thalassemia patients have many complications. Systematic population analyses on types and frequency of these complications are very few.
An article entitled “Pattern of complications and burden of disease in patients affected by beta thalassemia major” has now been published on Taylor & Francis Online and is in the latest issue of Current Medical Research and Opinion, Issue 8.
The aim of this study is to characterize the complications, risk factors and clinical and economic impact of beta thalassemia major.
The authors performed an observational study collecting a large amount of data from 272 patients in 13 clinical centres observed for a period of 12 months demonstrating that complications represent a critical problem for thalassaemia patients with a huge impact on burden and costs of the disease. The study confirmed that the number of complications increases with age and in addition to cardiac complications, infections, osteopathies and endocrinopathies are increasing. Even if the patients survival is significantly increased, the burden of the disease remain very high after the onset of the first complication with a higher costs for the Health Care System compared to non-complicated patients.
Therefore, the authors suggested that more efforts and more longitudinal observational studies are necessary to better identify strategies to prevent or reduce complications and their impact.