Long-Term Health-Related Quality of Life and Clinical Outcomes in Patients with β-Thalassemia after Splenectomy

J Clin Med. 2023 Mar 28;12(7):2547. doi: 10.3390/jcm12072547.


Few data are available on the efficacy and safety of splenectomy in patients with transfusion-dependent Beta-Thalassemia Major (β-TM) and on its impact on a patient's health-related quality of life (HRQoL). We examined the long-term HRQoL of adult patients with β-TM in comparison with those treated with medical therapy by using the Medical Outcomes Study 36-Item Short-Form Health Survey (SF-36). We also evaluated the safety and efficacy of splenectomy. Overall, 114 patients with a median age of 41 years (range 18-62) were enrolled in this cross-sectional study. Twenty-nine patients underwent splenectomy (25.4%) at a median age of 12 years (range 1-32). The median follow-up after splenectomy was 42 years (range 6-55). No statistically significant differences were observed in any of the scales of the SF-36 between splenectomized and not-splenectomized patients. The majority of surgical procedures (96.6%) were approached with open splenectomy. Post-splenectomy complications were reported in eight patients (27.5%): four overwhelming infections, three with pulmonary hypertension, and one with thrombosis. A significantly higher prevalence of cardiovascular comorbidities (58.6 vs. 21.2%, p < 0.001) and diabetes (17.2 vs. 3.5%, p = 0.013) was observed in splenectomized patients. These patients, however, required fewer red blood cell units per month, with only 27.6% of them transfusing more than 1 unit per month, compared with 72.9% of the not-splenectomized group. Overall, our data suggest that physicians should carefully consider splenectomy as a possible treatment option in patients with β-TM.

Keywords: health-related quality of life; splenectomy; β-thalassemia.

Grants and funding

This research received no external funding.