Chelation therapy with new drugs prevents cardiac damage and improves the survival of thalassemia patients. Liver diseases have emerged as a critical clinical issue. Chronic liver diseases play an important role in the prognosis of thalassemia patients because of the high frequency of viral infections and important role of the liver in regulating iron metabolism. Accurate assessment of liver iron overload is required to tailor iron chelation therapy. The diagnosis of hepatitis B virus- or hepatitis C virus- related chronic hepatitis is required to detect patients who have a high risk of developing liver complications and who may benefit by antiviral therapy. Moreover, clinical management of chronic liver disease in thalassemia patients is a team management issue requiring a multidisciplinary approach. The purposes of this paper are to summarize the knowledge on the epidemiology and the risks of transmission of viral infections, to analyze invasive and noninvasive methods for the diagnosis of chronic liver disease, to report the knowledge on clinical course of chronic viral hepatitis, and to suggest the management of antiviral therapy in thalassemia patients with chronic hepatitis B or C virus or cirrhosis.
Management of chronic viral hepatitis in patients with thalassemia: recommendations from an international panel / Di Marco, V; Capra, M; Angelucci, E; Borgna Pignatti, C; Telfer, P; Harmatz, P; Kattamis, A; Prossamariti, L; Filosa, A; Rund, D; Gamberini, Mr; Cianciulli, P; De Montalembert, M; Gagliardotto, F; Foster, G; Grange, Jd; Cassara, F; Iacono, A; Cappellini, Md; Brittenham, Gm; Prati, D; Pietrangelo, Antonello; Craxi, A; Maggio, A.. - In: BLOOD. - ISSN 0006-4971. - STAMPA. - 116(16):(2010), pp. 2875-2883. [10.1182/blood-2009-11-248724]