Noninvasive measurement of tissue iron levels can be assessed using T2* magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to identify and monitor patients with iron overload. This study monitored cardiac siderosis using T2* MRI in a cohort of 19 heavily iron-overloaded patients with β-thalassemia major receiving iron chelation therapy with deferasirox over an 18-month period. Overall, deferasirox therapy significantly improved mean ± standard deviation cardiac T2* from a baseline of 17.2±10.8 to 21.5±12.8 ms (+25.0%; P=0.02). A concomitant reduction in median serum ferritin from a baseline of 5,497 to 4,235 ng/mL (-23.0%; P=0.001), and mean liver iron concentration from 24.2±9.0 to 17.6± 12.9 mg Fe/g dry weight (-27.1%; P=0.01) was also seen. Improvements were seen in patients with various degrees of cardiac siderosis, including those patients with a baseline cardiac T2* of <10 ms, indicative of high cardiac iron burden. These findings therefore support previous observations that deferasirox is effective in the removal of myocardial iron with concomitant reduction in total body iron.
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