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Medline ® Abstract for Reference 110

of 'Clinical manifestations and diagnosis of the thalassemias'

Low incidence of acute myocardial infarction in beta-thalassaemia trait carriers.
Tassiopoulos T, Stamatelos G, Zakopoulos N, Fessas P, Eliopoulos GD
Haematologia (Budap). 1995;26(4):199.
The frequency of beta-thalassaemia trait was estimated in 209 consecutive patients hospitalized for acute myocardial infarction in order to answer the question of the possible protective effect of heterozygosity for beta-thalassaemia on the incidence of the disease. 212 patients hospitalized during the same period for various accidental bone fractures served as controls. Diagnosis of both, acute myocardial infarction and beta-thalassaemia trait, was based on the standard clinical and laboratory criteria. We found that patients with acute myocardial infarction had low frequency of beta-thalassaemia trait (4.31%), as compared with the mean incidence of heterozygosity for beta-thalassaemia in the whole Greek population (7.61%) (p<0.02). This finding was more clear in the older age groups of the patients studied. No statistically significant differences were found in the frequency of beta-thalassaemia trait between control subjects (8.49%) and the whole Greek population. We concluded that the heterozygosity for beta-thalassaemia may protect the carrier from acute myocardial infarction. This effect is probably related to low serum cholesterol levels, slight anaemia, and microcytosis lowering the blood viscosity. These changes are usually present in the beta-thalassaemia trait carriers.
First Department of Internal Medicine, University of Athens School of Medicine, Laiko General Hospital, Greece.