BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVES: Thalassemic patients have an increased risk for thromboembolic complications. To determine if this might be due to a deficiency in protein C, we investigated the status of the protein C anticoagulant pathway in thalassemia major patients and its relationship to the hypercoagulable state. PATIENTS AND METHODS: Fifty patients with beta-thalassemia major (30 non-splenectomized and 20 splenectomized) and 20 healthy children as a control group were tested for levels of serum ferritin, liver enzymes, serum albumin, fibrinogen, protein C and protein S, thrombin antithrombin complex (TAT) and D-dimer. RESULTS: Thalassemic patients had lower levels of protein C and S and higher levels of D-dimer and TAT than the control group. These findings were more obvious in splenectomized patients and in those with infrequent blood transfusion. CONCLUSIONS: Protein C plays a major role in the hypercoagulable state in thalassemic patients. These findings raise the issue as to whether it would be cost-beneficial to recommend prophylactic antithrombotic therapy in high-risk thalassemic patients. A wider prospective study is necessary to delineate under which circumstances therapy might be needed, and at what level of protein C deficiency to start prophylactic antithrombotic therapy.
Hassan, T. H., Elbehedy, R. M., Youssef, D. M., & Amr, G. E. (2010). Protein C levels in beta-thalassemia major patients in the east Nile delta of Egypt. Hematology/Oncology and Stem Cell Therapy, 3(2), 60–5. Retrieved from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20543538