Splenectomy is a risk factor for developing hyperuricemia and nephrolithiasis in patients with thalassemia intermedia: a retrospective study

Blood Cells Mol Dis. 2012;49(3-4):133-5. doi: 10.1016/j.bcmd.2012.05.012. Epub 2012 Jun 15.


Few data are available on the prevalence and the risk factors for the presence of kidney stones and hyperuricemia in patients with thalassemia intermedia. We retrospectively reviewed the charts and radiological studies of 89 patients with thalassemia intermedia followed at our clinic with routine biochemical examination and radiological imaging of the urinary tract. Renal calculi were identified in 11 patients (12%) and 22 patients (25%) were under uricosuric treatment for hyperucemia. The prevalence of nephrolithiasis increased with age but not in a statistically significant manner. Major risk factors for renal stone formation were splenectomy (in 91% of the cases) and higher number of erythroblasts. Patients with renal stones had higher mean creatinine level and lower GFR value with respect to those observed in patients not affected. Our data suggest that splenectomy, by further increasing erythrocyte turnover and number, may be directly involved in the pathogenesis of hyperuricemia and nephrolithiasis observed in thalassemia intermedia patients.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Aged
  • Creatinine / blood
  • Erythroblasts / pathology
  • Erythrocyte Count
  • Erythrocytes / pathology
  • Female
  • Glomerular Filtration Rate
  • Humans
  • Hyperuricemia / blood
  • Hyperuricemia / etiology
  • Hyperuricemia / pathology*
  • Hyperuricemia / surgery
  • Kidney Calculi / blood
  • Kidney Calculi / etiology
  • Kidney Calculi / pathology*
  • Kidney Calculi / surgery
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Risk Factors
  • Splenectomy
  • Uric Acid / blood
  • beta-Thalassemia / blood
  • beta-Thalassemia / complications
  • beta-Thalassemia / pathology*
  • beta-Thalassemia / surgery


  • Uric Acid
  • Creatinine