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We have studied the mechanism of a transfusion-dependent anaemia found in a two-year-old Maltese girl with visceral leishmaniasis that was resistant to multiple courses of antimonial therapy. Major factors contributing to the anaemia were haemolysis occurring in both the massively enlarged spleen and liver and haemodilution resulting from expansion of the plasma volume. There was no evidence of significant ineffective erythropoiesis, but a reduced plasma iron in the presence of greatly increased iron stores suggested that reticuloendothelial hyperplasia was accompanied by abnormal iron retention by macrophages typical of the 'anaemia of chronic disorders'. This may limit the erythropoietic response to anaemia in chronic visceral leishmaniasis.

Type

Journal article

Journal

Ann Trop Med Parasitol

Volume

80

Pages

317 - 23