Treatment beta thalassemia major:management,guidelines,options

If a child has beta thalassemia major then his hemoglobin level in red blood cells is not enough to survive,and so he needs proper treatment to keep alive,in good health and live relatively normal lives.

A standard treatment,management and guidelines used by doctors is regular blood transfusion and iron chelation therapy,while a possible cure is bone marrow transplant.

Blood transfusions leave children with an excess of iron in their bodies,also known as iron overload.

Blood transfusions
They are needed to give to the child the hemoglobin he is missing.
They are usually done every 2-4 weeks,and the beta thalassemia major child needs repeated transfusions to keep having healthy red blood cells.
The procedure can take from 1 to 4 hours.
This treatment is life saving,and it costs money and has a risk of transmitting viruses or infections(like hepatitis).

It allows the children to feel better.
Read more details in the Blood transfusions page.

Iron overload and Iron Chelation Therapy
An important and severe side effect of the blood transfusions it the the excess of iron in the blood (iron overload),and it damages different parts of the body,including the heart and the liver. The iron overload can cause organ failure and the subsequent death.

The main way to prevent this problem is the iron chelation therapy,that allows to remove from the body the iron in excess.

There are different drugs (called “iron chelators”) produced to remove the iron in excess,and they can be taken orally or under the skin.

You should consult a hematologist to know which one to take,how often and the quantity.

Bone Marrow Transplant
Blood transfusions and iron chelation therapy are the standard treatment,but they are not a permanent cure.
The only cure available so far to become thalassemia free with no more transfusions is Bone Marrow Transplant (BMT) using a donor (compatible or even non compatible).

Related articles: