Author(s): Majhail NS, Lazarus HM, Burns LJ
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Abstract Iron overload, primarily related to RBC transfusions, is a relatively common complication in hematopoietic cell transplant (HCT) recipients. Iron overload increases the risk of infections, veno-occlusive disease and hepatic dysfunction post transplant. Elevated pretransplant ferritin levels have been reported to increase the risk of nonrelapse mortality following HCT and might influence the risk of acute and chronic GVHD. Serum ferritin is sensitive but not specific for iron overload and is a poor predictor of body iron burden. Estimation of hepatic iron content with a liver biopsy or magnetic resonance imaging should be considered prior to initiating therapy for post transplant iron overload. A subgroup of transplant survivors with mild iron overload and no end-organ damage may not need therapy. Phlebotomy is the treatment of choice with iron-chelation therapy reserved for patients not eligible for phlebotomy. Natural history, evolution and treatment of iron overload in transplant survivors have not been adequately investigated and more studies are needed to determine its impact on short-term and long-term morbidity and mortality.
This article was published in Bone Marrow Transplant
and referenced in Biochemistry & Physiology: Open Access