COVID-19 and Thalassemia: The Iranian Experience

A multicenter, retrospective, cross-sectional study of 15,950 TDT and 2400 NTDT patients in Iran was conducted between January to 29 April 2020.  There were 15 confirmed cases of COVID-19 (RT-PCR ) (12 TDT , 3 NTDT), and eight suspected cases (6TDT, 2 NTDT)  amongst beta-thalassemia patients. Seventeen patients with mild to moderate symptoms recovered, while 6 patients died (2 TDT, 4 NTDT).  Diabetes, hypertension, and pulmonary artery hypertension were significantly more common in the 4 confirmed cases who died, compared to those who recovered. Splenectomy was not associated with a higher risk of death.

Overall, COVID-19 was less prevalent in thalassemia patients (8.17/10,000) compared to the general population (11.01/10,000). However, the mortality rate was significantly higher in patients with beta-thalassemia (26.6.%) compared to the general population (6.34%).

Karimi et al. Prevalence and mortality in β‐thalassaemias due to outbreak of novel coronavirus disease (COVID‐19): the nationwide Iranian experience. British Journal of Haematology. 2020. 190:e137.

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