Ujjwal Bandyopadhyay1, Dipankar Kundu2, Arijit Sinha3, Kallol Banerjee4, Ranjana Bandyopadhyay5, Tridibeshwar Mandal2, Debes Ray2
1Department of Pathology, RIO, Medical College, Kolkata, India.
2Department of Biochemistry, Medical College, Kolkata, India.
3Department of Medicine, ID Hospital, Kolkata, India.
4Department of Orthopedics, National Medical College, Kolkata, India.
5Department of Pathology, Malda Medical College, West Bengal, India.
Background: The ideal management of thalassemia involves a multidisciplinary therapeutic team approach and should be preferably done at a comprehensive thalassemia care center with all sorts of specialists and the backup of a well-equipped blood bank. However, in developing country like ours, these facilities are not available in rural set up. So, a situation where conservative therapy with regular blood transfusion is the only choice left to innumerable thalassemic children. Objective: To evaluate the existing conservative management protocol of Beta-thalassemia major patients in the setup of a subdivision level Government Hospital of rural West Bengal, India. Materials and Methods: The study was performed between December 2009 and December 2011. Beta-thalassemia major patients, registered in blood bank for moderate transfusion regimen, were taken in study. All the patients were screened for Transfusion Transmittable Infections at the time of registration and thereafter periodically every six months. Iron chelation therapy was given simultaneously with transfusion at a dose of 20 to 40 mg/kg/day for six days. The patients were advised to follow up with chelation therapy at home by daily infusion with a goal of maintaining serum ferritin level below 1000 ng/ml. Over this long period of study, the patients were periodically evaluated for complications. Results: The average blood requirement (ml/kg/year) in 1-5 years, 6-10 years, and 11-15 years were 110, 150, and 180, respectively. Incidence of Hepatitis C Virus infection in 1-5 years and 6-10 years were 1.75% and 2.08%, respectively. It is well seen that serum ferritin level increase with ascending age as does the blood consumption. Conclusion: Conservative management may be the best alternative and at times the only hope for patients in developing country like ours. However, in order to decrease the disease load, steps need to be taken to introduce preventive measures.
Keywords: Beta-thalassemia major, blood transfusion, conservative management, iron chelation, prevention program.