Pregnancy in beta-thalassemia intermedia: 20-year experience of a Greek thalassemia center

Eur J Haematol. 2014 Dec;93(6):492-9. doi: 10.1111/ejh.12387. Epub 2014 Jun 26.


Objective: Progress in the management of patients with thalassemia intermedia (TI) enabled increasing rates of pregnancies among TI women worldwide. Nevertheless, information regarding TI pregnancy management and outcome is quite limited in the literature. The aim of this study was to report our experience regarding the maternal and fetal outcome of TI patients, as well as to depict the complexity of the disease and the need for multidisciplinary and personalized management as shown by the description of two interesting pregnancy cases.

Methods: We analyzed our data recorded from 60 pregnancies in 34 women over a 20-yr period.

Results: Forty-nine patients achieved full-term pregnancies (mean maternal age ± SD: 27.4 ± 6.5 yr) within 37 ± 3 gestation weeks. Their mean hemoglobin value was 8.33 ± 1.22 g/dL; 26.5% of patients were not transfused at all or they had been transfused only once during gestation. There were 11 abortions (18.3%). The spontaneous abortions (5/11) were related to high HbF levels. Six patients had more than two normal deliveries. Nineteen newborns (38.8%), which weighed 2-3 kg, required hospitalization to an intensive neonatal care unit for 1-3 wk. One patient presented with life-threatening complications (hemolytic anemia, thrombocytopenia, and enlargement of spleen) and another with spastic paraparesis due to extramedullary paravertebral masses.

Conclusions: Although several complications can occur during a pregnancy in TI women, the careful and frequent monitoring by both hamatologists and obstetricians can lead to successful deliveries.

Keywords: pregnancy; thalassemia intermedia; transfusion.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Blood Transfusion
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Gestational Age
  • Greece / epidemiology
  • Humans
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Complications, Hematologic / diagnosis
  • Pregnancy Complications, Hematologic / epidemiology*
  • Pregnancy Complications, Hematologic / therapy
  • Pregnancy Outcome
  • Splenectomy
  • Young Adult
  • beta-Thalassemia / diagnosis
  • beta-Thalassemia / epidemiology*
  • beta-Thalassemia / therapy