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Iron absorption and rates of iron accumulation were analysed in a group of patients with beta-thalassaemia intermedia. Iron absorption was strikingly increased and there was a progressive iron loading with increasing age. Balance studies indicated that by the time many of these patients reach the third or fourth decades their total iron loads may be of a similar magnitude to those of transfusion-dependent beta-thalassaemia homozygotes. If these patients are to be protected from cardiac, hepatic, and endocrine complications of iron overload in middle life it will be necessary to reduce gastrontestinal iron absorption, starting from early childhood.

Type

Journal article

Journal

Lancet

Publisher

Elsevier: Lancet

Volume

2

Pages

819 - 21