A critical review of non invasive procedures for the evaluation of body iron burden in thalassemia major patients

Pediatr Endocrinol Rev. 2008 Oct;6 Suppl 1:193-203.


It is evident that different non invasive methodologies have been implemented for the detection of organ specific iron burden in patients with thalassemia major. Among these MR relaxometry has the potential to become the method of choice for non-invasive, safe and accurate assessment of organ-specific iron load, although further theoretical research, along with studies monitoring wider age groups of patients, is needed. Moreover, the possibility of detecting organ-specific iron burden is relevant for tailoring specific chelation treatment in different patients or in the same patient during different periods of life. In fact, while heart organ-specific effect has been suggested by MR relaxometry for some chelation treatments, it is possible to suppose that another single chelator or association of other chelators may show different organ-specific effects. For these reasons, the future of our clinical research will be to understand, mainly by MR relaxometry, whether it would be possible to set up a tailored organ-specific chelation treatment, according to this supposed difference in organ efficacy of the current chelation therapies.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Echocardiography / methods
  • Humans
  • Iron / analysis*
  • Iron Overload / drug therapy
  • Iron Overload / metabolism*
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging / methods
  • beta-Thalassemia / metabolism*


  • Iron