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Year : 2014  |  Volume : 33  |  Issue : 4  |  Page : 232-236

Splenectomy for patients with β-thalassemia major: long-term outcomes

1 Department of Surgery, Assiut University Hospitals, Assiut, Egypt
2 Department of Pediatric, Assiut University Hospitals, Assiut, Egypt
3 Department of Clinical Pathology, Assiut University Hospitals, Assiut, Egypt

Correspondence Address:
Samir A Ammar
Department of Surgery, Assiut University Hospitals, El Gamaa Street, 71515 Assiut
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/1110-1121.147614

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Background/aim The use of splenectomy for thalassemia major is restricted over concerns of its long-term outcome. The aim of this study was to assess the long-term outcomes of splenectomy for patients with β-thalassemia major. Patients and methods This study included 70 patients with β-thalassemia major. Patients were classified into two groups: 35 patients underwent splenectomy (S group) and 35 patients did not undergo splenectomy (NS group). Patients were assessed by review of medical records, assessment of medical history, and a clinical examination. In addition to complete blood count, liver function tests and serum ferritin were performed. Assessment of lymphocyte populations was carried out by flow cytometry. These investigations were performed at least 2 years after splenectomy in the S group. Results The mean age of the patients who underwent splenectomy was 6.68 ± 2.54 years and the mean postoperative follow-up period was 6.26 ± 3.03 years. Splenectomy improves anemia, but does not reduce iron burden; more patients were found to be on regular iron chelation after splenectomy. Hematocrit and red blood cell indices were significantly increased after splenectomy. Platelet count increased significantly in the S group (644.700 ± 299.400/mm 3 ). There were no significant differences in T-lymphocyte populations between both groups. IgM memory B lymphocytes were lower in the S group compared with the NS group. No overwhelming postsplenectomy infection was reported in this series. Postsplenectomy portal vein thrombosis was reported in one (2.9%) case. Conclusion With long-term follow-up after splenectomy for treatment of thalassemia major, thrombocytosis and the risk of thromboembolic persist. Splenectomy improves anemia, but does not reduce iron burden or the requirement for blood transfusion. Proper preoperative vaccination can reduce the risk of overwhelming postsplenectomy infection.

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