Scientific Literature

The Influence of Cardiovascular Risk Factors and Hypogonadism on Cardiac Outcomes in an Aging Population of Beta-Thalassemia Patients

Barbero, U., Ajassa, M., Gaglioti, C. M., Piga, A., et al. Journal of cardiovascular development and disease, 9(1), 3. (2021)

Beta-thalassemia major (β-TM) is a hereditary genetic disease worsened by many comorbidities due to transfusion-related iron despite chelation therapy. Since there has recently been an increase in life expectancy of patients to up to 50 years old, which influences the prevalence of these diseases and the time span for traditional cardiovascular risk factors to play their role, this study aims to evaluate their distribution and prevalence in a population of thalassemia major patients and their relationship with observed cardiovascular events and potential modifying factors.

One hundred and fifty-nine β-TM patients with at least 15 years of follow-up were included in this study. The mean age was 40.9 ± 8.4 years; 28% had diabetes mellitus and 62% had hypogonadism. The cardiovascular risk assessed using algorithms (CUORE and Pooled Cohort Risk Equation—PCRE) was low, but 3.8% of patients had at least one episode of heart failure, 35.9% showed early signs of heart failure, 22% received a diagnosis of diastolic dysfunction, and 21.4% showed supraventricular arrhythmias. Hypogonadism was shown to be related to the occurrence of cardiovascular events.

The chronic accumulation of iron in the heart and the specific metabolic profile, mainly observed in patients with hypogonadism, allows us to define β-TM as a condition with a high level of cardiovascular risk from many points of view (iron-related myopathy, atherosclerosis and arrhythmias), which requires better stratification tools and a specific follow-up program.

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