Which histologic findings are characteristic of transfusion-induced iron overload?

Updated: May 07, 2021
  • Author: Geneva E Guarin, MD, MBA; Chief Editor: Emmanuel C Besa, MD  more...
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Iron accumulation and fibrosis are the common features found in patients with thalassemia and liver damage, except that thalassemia/hemoglobin H disease exhibit lesser hepatic damage. The degrees of iron deposition and fibrosis are higher in splenectomized and cirrhotic individuals than in nonsplenectomized and noncirrhotic patients. [75]

The subcellular changes on electron microscopy are swollen mitochondria, with the presence of an electron-dense matrix and ruptured mitochondrial membrane. Proliferation of smooth endoplasmic reticulum (ER), and dilatated rough ER are observed. Increases in lysosomal hemosiderin in hepatocytes and in Kupffer cells are demonstrated. The pattern of liver cell damage is similar to that of viral hepatitis. [75]

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