Objectives: The aim of this study was to determine the anthropometric measurements in transfusion-dependent β-thalassemia children in Pakistan. The secondary aim was to correlate serum ferritin with the physical growth. Methods: We enrolled 367 children (aged 5–17 years) with transfusion-dependent beta-thalassemia major in the study. Anthropometric measurements, serum ferritin levels, and pre-transfusion hemoglobin levels were measured. Serum ferritin was correlated with the height z-score for age. Results: Laboratory evaluation showed that patients had significantly low mean pre-transfusion hemoglobin of 7.66 ± 1.34 g/dl (range 2.5–10.5) and high median (Q3–Q1) serum ferritin of 5012 ng/ml (6829–3532). The median (Q3–Q1) height-for-age z-score of children was low at −2.69 and (−1.46 to −3.80) and 65.4% children had stunted growth (height for age z-score <−2). There was a significant negative correlation between height for age z-score and serum ferritin levels (p < 0.000). Stunting of growth began early during 5–10 years of age but increased markedly with the progress of time. Conclusions: The study showed that children with beta thalassemia major had delayed physical growth possibly secondary to iron overload. Effective and early iron chelation is needed for preventing growth failure in transfusion-dependent beta thalassemia.
- iron overload
- thalassemia major