Deferoxamine Improves Left Ventricular Function in β-Thalassemia

Dan Grisaru, Ada W. Goldfarb, Mervyn S. Gotsman, Eliezer A. Rachmilewitz, Yonathan Hasin

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18 Scopus citations


Serial echocardiographic examinations were made to study the changes in left ventricular (LV) function and wall mass in 35 patients with thalassemia followed up for 5.5 ±2 years (mean ± SD). Twenty patients received deferoxamine sulfate for 2.0 ±0.6 years (drug group) and 15 patients did not (nondrug group). Repeated blood transfusions were used to maintain the pretransfusion hemoglobin levels at 9 g/dL (90 g/L). Deferoxamine therapy improved LV function and decreased LV wall mass. Percentage shortening of LV diameter improved in the drug group (5.0%±3.9%) and deteriorated in the nondrug group (-6.8%±5.6%). Similarly, the maximum velocity of LV posterior wall motion improved in the drug group (16.1± 20.1 mm/s) and deteriorated in the nondrug group (-18.3 ±19.0 mm/s). Left ventricular wall mass decreased in the drug group when compared with the nondrug group. In a subset of the drug group, pathologic natural deterioration in LV systolic function was reversed by treatment. Correlation studies indicated that frequent blood transfusions together with chelation therapy reduced LV dilatation and wall thickness, but blood transfusions alone did not have the same effect. Thus, treatment of patients with thalassemia with modest blood transfusions and deferoxamine can prevent deterioration and may even improve their LV systolic function, associated probably with arrest and reversal of the pathologic process that increases LV wall mass.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2344-2349
Number of pages6
JournalArchives of Internal Medicine
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 1986
Externally publishedYes


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