Background: A high incidence of thromboembolic events is observed in thalassemia patients. This study investigated the relationship between carotid intima-media thickness (CIMT) and lipid profile, iron metabolic indices (IMI), and inflammatory markers in β-thalassemia intermedia (β- TI) patients.
Patients and methods: Forty-five β-TI patients at Assiut University Hospital and 34 healthy individuals were enrolled in the study. We measured Lipid profile, IMI, high sensitive CRP (Hs-CRP), and interleukin-6 (IL-6) and compared the results between both groups. We used CIMT measurement as a marker for subclinical atherosclerosis. We used both univariate and multivariate analyses to test relations and independent predictors of CIMT.
Results: β-TI patients had higher CIMT (P = 0.000). CIMT was positively correlated with absolute neutrophil count (ANC) (r = 0.320, p = 0.032), ferritin (r = 0.544, p = 0.000), Hs-CRP (r = 0.603, p = 0.000), and IL-6 (r = 0.520, p = 0.000). Hs-CRP was an independent predictor of CIMT (p = 0.000). Hs-CRP cut off value of 60.4 ug/dl has sensitivity of 63.3% and specificity of 93.3% in predicting premature atherosclerosis.
Conclusion: β-TI patients had higher CIMT despite the protective lipid profile. Hs-CRP was an independent predictor of CIMT.
Trial registration: ClinicalTrials.gov NCT03170245.
Keywords: Carotid intima-media thickness; subclinical atherosclerosis; thalassemia; thalassemia intermedia.