How do patients with beta-thalassemia monitor their iron level?

Serum ferritin levels give a good general idea of how well chelation therapy is working, but they only measure the iron in the blood, they don't necessarily tell you how much iron is in your heart and liver. MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) machines use non-invasive iron measurement technology to measure the amount of iron in your liver (using technology called R2) and in your heart (using technology called T2). However, for patients who can't use this technology, a liver biopsy can provide valuable information.

  • Chouliaras G, Berdoukas V, Ladis V. et al. Impact of magnetic resonance imaging on cardiac mortality in thalassemia major. J Magn Reson Imaging. 2011;34:56?9.
  • Clark PR, Chua-Anusorn W, St Pierre TG. Proton transverse relaxation rate (R2) images of liver tissue; mapping local tissue iron concentrations with MRI. Magn Reson Med. 2003;49:572?5.

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