What are the possible complications of beta thalassemia?

Updated: May 07, 2021
  • Author: Pooja Advani, MD; Chief Editor: Emmanuel C Besa, MD  more...
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Complications associated with beta thalassemia, aside from the aforementioned anemia, are as follows (see Prognosis, Presentation, Workup, Treatment, and Medication):

  • Extramedullary hematopoiesis

  • Asplenia secondary to splenectomy

  • Medical complications from long-term transfusional therapy - Iron overload and transfusion-associated infections (eg, hepatitis); iron overload cardiomyopathy accounts for the majority of deaths in thalassemia patients [1]

  • Increased risk for infections resulting from asplenia (eg, encapsulated organisms such as pneumococcus) or from iron overload (eg, Yersinia species)

  • Cholelithiasis (eg, bilirubin stones)

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