Main Organiser

Julius Centre University of Malaya


Department of Social and Preventive Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, University of Malay

Supported by

University of Malaya



Ahuja A., Taneja A., Kumar J., Kataria A.


HERON Health Pvt. Ltd., Chandigarh, India


Objectives: To conduct a systematic review evaluating transfusion-dependent complications associated with beta-thalassemia in Asian population.

Methods: Embase® and MEDLINE® databases were searched to identify relevant English studies assessing transfusion-dependent complications of beta-thalassemia (major/intermedia). Eligibility of studies was assessed by two independent reviewers with any discrepancy resolved by a third independent reviewer.

Results: A total of 40 citations out of 848 met the pre-defined inclusion criteria. Hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection was the most frequently reported complication (37.5% of included studies) with its incidence ranging between 6.5% and 41.7%. Hypozincemia, growth retardation, infections, and cardiovascular disorders were experienced by 74%, 50%, 19%, and 16% of patients, respectively. Other minor complications observed were hepatic dysfunction, osteoporosis, and ocular disorders. An increased serum ferritin level was reported to be an important risk factor for the development of majority of these complications including endocrine disorders and infections. The chief cause of death across patients receiving transfusion medicine was sepsis (27%) followed by congestive heart failure (7%).

Conclusion: HCV was the most commonly observed complication among thalassemic patients receiving transfusion therapy. High prevalence of complications, especially of endocrine disorders and infections, signifies the importance of regular monitoring of the status of iron overload in these patients.