Follow-up study of thyroid function in polytransfused thalassemic patients
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The aim of our investigation was to evaluate thyroid function by a follow-up study in 45 polytransfused thalassemic patients, since endocrine abnormalities are frequent consequences of iron overload in thalassemia major. Significant changes of thyroid function have been revealed in the time elapsing the observation, despite unchanged haematological parameters; at the end of the present study five patients were affected by overt hypothyroidism and 15 patients by subclinical hypothyroidism. Ultrasound thyroid volume in 13 randomly selected patients was greatly reduced, while thyroid Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) was not able to detect tissue alterations. Inversely, liver MRI was markedly reduced in 14 patients and negatively related to ferritine levels (P< 0.01). We conclude that polytransfused thalassemics are frequently affected by thyroid disfunction; haepatic haemosiderosis due to iron overload seems influence hormonal peripheral metabolism, although the patients display a moderate compliance with iron chelation therapy. Therefore, periodic thyroid investigation should be carried out in thalassemic subjects in order to detect patients who need hormone replacement therapy.
Keywordsthyroid function thalassemia major ultrasound, magnetic resonance imaging
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