A noninvasive method for the evaluation of tissue iron deposition in beta-thalassemia major

R. Zeimer, M. Belkin, E. Leitersdorff, E. A. Rachmilewitz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Diagnostic x-ray spectrometry (DXS), a noninvasive method for the analysis and quantitation of trace elements in different tissues, was applied to quantitate the degree of iron overload in the skin of 19 patients with beta-thalassemia major. The duration of the test is short, it is not associated with inconvenience to the patient, and it can be repeated at different times at different locations on the outer surface of the body. In patients who receive numerous repeated blood transfusions, there was a close correlation between the dermal iron content and the rate of transfusions when they exceeded 6 units of packed RBC per year. In three patients with the spleen in situ, the dermal iron content was lower than in corresponding splenectomized patients. The rate of dermal iron accumulation was found to be similar to the rate of iron deposition in the liver, as assessed in a similar group of patients by repeated liver biopsies. The monitoring of the degree of iron accumulation in individual patients as a function of time and the effect of treatment with iron chelating agents can be determined noninvasively with the aid of DXS.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)24-31
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Laboratory and Clinical Medicine
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 1978
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine


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