High incidence of silent cerebral infarcts in adult patients with beta thalassemia major

Idit Pazgal, Edna Inbar, Maya Cohen, Ofer Shpilberg, Pinhas Stark

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


Objectives Survival of beta thalassemia major (TM) patients has improved significantly over the past few decades. Consequently, less commonly reported complications are now being recognized. An incidence as high as 60% of silent cerebral infarcts (SCI) has been demonstrated by brain Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) studies in beta thalassemia intermedia (TI). The aim of this study was to determine whether regularly transfused TM adult patients experience less SCI, as compared to the incidence described in TI. Methods In this observational study, 28 transfusion dependent TM patients, > 18 years of age underwent brain MRI studies. Results Focal bright foci in the cerebral white matter were demonstrated in 17 (60.7%) patients; most of them had multiple lesions. Elevated serum ferritin (SF), primarily 5 years Area Under the Curve, was found to have a significant association with the presence of SCI (p < 0.031). Similar results were found when 4 patients with intact spleen and 2 patients with splenules were excluded (p = 0.027). There was no significant association between number of SCI and clinical or other laboratory parameter evaluated. Conclusions The present study demonstrates a high rate of SCI in regularly transfused TM adult patients. Effective continuous iron chelation, preventive low dose aspirin and routine periodical brain MRI are recommended.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)119-122
Number of pages4
JournalThrombosis Research
StatePublished - 1 Aug 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • Adult patients
  • Beta thalassemia major
  • Iron chelation
  • Silent cerebral infarcts
  • Transfusion dependent


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