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Studies of left-ventricular function in anemia due to beta-thalassemia

Studies of left-ventricular function in anemia due to beta-thalassemia

Israel Journal of Medical Sciences 18(9): 928-934

Left-ventricular (LV) function was studied in 23 patients with anemia due to beta-thalassemia, of whom seven had thalassemia intermedia and the remainder thalassemia major. Two-thirds of the patients wih thalassemia intermedia and almost all the patients with thalassemia major were in clinical congestive heart failure. Despite this, resting measurements of ventricular size and systolic ventricular function were normal, indicating high-output cardiac failure. However, effort testing showed a flat response or decrease in the LV shortening fraction in patients with thalassemia major, and serial studies showed a decrease in the shortening fraction over a 4-yr period in some patients. LV diastolic function was studied by calculating peak LV filling rate and the pattern of LV filling in early diastole. Three patient with thalassemia major showed a pattern indicating abnormal LV distension. Since LV end-diastolic dimension was increased, volume overload was present in all patients. The results indicate that the following factors contribute to the genesis of cardiac failure in beta-thalassemia: 1) diminished response of systolic ventricular performance to exercise and later at rest; 2) ventricular volume overload; and 3) abnormal ventricular distension in diastole. Although the ventricular filling suggests abnormal LV compliance, the effect of right-ventricular volume overload or a pericardial factor cannot be excluded.

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Accession: 044421119

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PMID: 7141853

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