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Premature Atherosclerosis in Non-Transfusion-Dependent β-Thalassemia Intermedia

Hahalis G.a · Kalogeropoulos A.a · Terzis G.b · Tselepis A.D.d · Kourakli A.c · Mylona P.a · Grapsas N.e · Alexopoulos D.a
Departments of aCardiology, bRadiology and cHematology, University of Patras Medical School, Rio, dDepartment of Chemistry, University of Ioannina Medical School, Ioannina, and eAgios Andreas Hospital, Patras, Greece Cardiology 2011;118:159–163 (DOI:10.1159/000327997)


Objectives: β-Thalassemias are inherited hemolytic anemias with a broad phenotype and an increased rate of vascular complications despite a near absence of coronary artery disease. Methods: We investigated the presence of endothelial dysfunction and subclinical atherosclerosis in non-transfusion-dependent patients with β-thalassemia intermedia (β-TI) by means of flow-mediated (FMD) and flow-independent (FID) brachial artery dilatation and carotid artery intima-media thickness. Results: In 20 nondiabetic young adults with β-TI, FMD (6.6 ± 3.7 vs. 10.3 ± 3.1%; p = 0.002) and FID (14.0 ± 4.7 vs. 18.0 ± 5.6%; p = 0.02) were both lower relative to the values in 20 matched control subjects, whereas the intima-media thickness was increased (0.51 ± 0.09 vs. 0.46 ± 0.07 mm; p = 0.049). Fibrin generation, soluble endothelial activation markers, and proinflammatory proteins were higher in the patient group, while the plasma cholesterol level was lower. Conclusions: These findings indicate premature atherosclerosis among patients with β-TI; this is in accord with the high incidence of noncoronary vascular episodes in β-TI.


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