In the last 10 years, the life of a patient with thalassemia has enormously improved thanks to the new treatments available, which have allowed the patient to have a standard life. The two main factors, that combined together can guarantee it, are blood transfusions roughly on a monthly basis and a good chelation therapy to reduce the iron overloaded and consequently prevent early death from organ failure.
Over the last years efforts have focused on improving bone marrow transplation technique and gene therapy. These new methods are offering new hopes for all patients. In the next sections we’ll focus on the therapies that a patient with thalassemia must undertake to survive.
Patients with thalassemia need regular blood transfusions to survive.
Those are vital mainly for three reasons:
1. to provide them with a temporary supply of health red blood cells with normal haemoglobin capable of carrying the oxygen that the organs and tissues need.
2. To keep patient’s haemoglobin level near normal in order not to stimulate bone marrow excessively and prevent, consequently, bone deformities.
3. To prevent, or reduce, the enlargement of the spleen and organ failure.
The increase of the thalassemia patients’s age on average; As you may see from the graphics, the figures refer only to patients with Thalassemia Major cured at Hospital OIRM starting from 1989, with an average of 14 year-old, up to 2005 with an average of 26 year-old.