Management of age-associated medical complications in patients with β-thalassemia

Expert Rev Hematol. 2020 Jan;13(1):85-94. doi: 10.1080/17474086.2020.1686354. Epub 2019 Nov 12.


Introduction: β-Thalassemia syndromes are among the most common monogenic disorders worldwide. Clinically, on the basis of the severity of the phenotype, β-thalassemias are classified into two groups: transfusion-dependent thalassemia (TDT) and non-transfusion-dependent thalassemia (NTDT). In the last few decades, considerable advances in understanding the pathophysiology of β-thalassemia have significantly improve d patient management, which has led to an increase in the life span of these subjects. However, new complications associated with aging are emerging, and β-thalassemias are becoming a growing concern for the health care systems.Areas covered: The present review focused on the age-related complications in adults with β-thalassemia. Among the cardiovascular diseases, which remain a major cause of morbidity, pulmonary hypertension and arrhythmias are exhibiting increased prevalence. Adrenal insufficiency and bone disease are emerging as endocrinological complications that require proper treatment. Moreover, age-related complications observed in the general population, including cancers and renal disease, should not be neglected.Expert opinion: The present study reviews the management of above-stated complications in adults with β-thalassemia based on the experience of a referral center. It is noteworthy that clinical trials in this context are limited, and the expert opinion offered in the present report stems mainly from direct clinical experience.

Keywords: Adrenal insufficiency; anemia; arrythmias; bone disease; cancer; cardiovascular disease; iron overload; pulmonary hypertension; renal disease; thalassemia.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Video-Audio Media

MeSH terms

  • Aging*
  • Arrhythmias, Cardiac* / etiology
  • Arrhythmias, Cardiac* / therapy
  • Bone Diseases* / etiology
  • Bone Diseases* / therapy
  • Humans
  • Hypertension, Pulmonary* / etiology
  • Hypertension, Pulmonary* / therapy
  • Kidney Diseases* / etiology
  • Kidney Diseases* / therapy
  • Neoplasms / therapy*
  • beta-Thalassemia* / complications
  • beta-Thalassemia* / therapy