Iron overload is a common and serious problem in thalassemic major patients. As iron accumulation is toxic in the body's tissues, accurate estimation of iron stores is of great importance in these patients to prevent iron overload by an appropriate iron chelating therapy. Liver biopsy is the gold standard for evaluating iron stores but it is an invasive method which is not easily repeatable in patients. Introduction of other more applicable methods seems to be necessary.
A research article published on January 28, 2011 in the World Journal of Gastroenterology addresses this question. The authors reported their experience of using T2*-weighted magnetic resonance imaging (MRI T2*) for determining iron overload in beta-thalassemic patients in Iran. They compared liver MRI T2* results in thalassemic patients with their liver biopsy results to determine if it is possible to substitute MRI T2* to assess iron overload in these patients.
The results indicated that the serum ferritin level is not a reliable method for estimating the level of iron overload in thalassemic patients. MRI T2* is a more accurate and non-invasive method which they recommend for measurement of iron load in these patients.
Reference: Zamani F, Razmjou S, Akhlaghpoor S, Eslami SM, Azarkeivan A, Amiri A. T2* magnetic resonance imaging of the liver in thalassemic patients in Iran. World J Gastroenterol 2011;17(4): 522-525
Correspondence to: Dr. Farhad Zamani, Associate Professor, Gastroenterology and Liver Disease Research Center, Firouzgar Hospital, Valadi Street, Valiasr Square, Tehran 0098-3137875661, Iran. email@example.com
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About World Journal of Gastroenterology
World Journal of Gastroenterology (WJG), a leading international journal in gastroenterology and hepatology, has established a reputation for publishing first class research on esophageal cancer, gastric cancer, liver cancer, viral hepatitis, colorectal cancer, and H. pylori infection and provides a forum for both clinicians and scientists. WJG has been indexed and abstracted in Current Contents/Clinical Medicine, Science Citation Index Expanded (also known as SciSearch) and Journal Citation Reports/Science Edition, Index Medicus, MEDLINE and PubMed, Chemical Abstracts, EMBASE/Excerpta Medica, Abstracts Journals, Nature Clinical Practice Gastroenterology and Hepatology, CAB Abstracts and Global Health. ISI JCR 2009 IF: 2.092. WJG is a weekly journal published by WJG Press. The publication dates are the 7th, 14th, 21st, and 28th day of every month. WJG is supported by The National Natural Science Foundation of China, No. 30224801 and No. 30424812, and was founded with the name of China National Journal of New Gastroenterology on October 1, 1995, and renamed WJG on January 25, 1998.