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Myocardial fibrosis by CMR LGE in a large cohrt of pediatric thalassemia major patients


Cardiovascular Magnetic Resonance (CMR) by late gadolinium enhancement (LGE) allows to detect myocardial fibrosis. Myocardial fibrosis was shown to be a relative common finding in large cohort of Italian thalassemia major (TM) patients mainly related to HCV infection, but specific studies involving only pediatric patients are not available. Our aim was to investigate the prevalence and clinical-instrumental correlates of myocardial fibrosis in pediatric TM patients.


We studied retrospectively 76 pediatric patients with TM (44 boys, 4.2 -17.9 years old, mean age 13.6 ± 3.4 years) enrolled in the MIOT (Myocardial Iron Overload in Thalassemia) Network. All patients were well transfused and chelated since the early childhood.LGE images were acquired to detect myocardial fibrosis. Myocardial iron overload (MIO) was measured by T2* multislice multiecho technique. Biventricular function parameters were quantitatively evaluated by cine images.


Myocardial fibrosis was detected in 12 (15.8%) patients. In all patients the location of the fibrosis was epi-mesocardial, with no ischemic pattern. The youngest patient showing myocardial fibrosis had 13 years of age. Table 1 shows the comparison between patients with and without myocardial fibrosis. A significant higher MIO was detected in patients with myocardial fibrosis. The left atrial area, all the left ventricular (LV) indexed volumes, the LV mass index and the bi-ventricular stroke volume indexes were significantly higher in the fibrosis group than in the no-fibrosis group.

Table 1 Clinical and instrumental correlates in the fibrosis and no-fibrosis group.


In pediatric TM patients myocardial fibrosis is not a rare finding to keep in mind in the cardiological management. When appropriate treatment has been administered since early childhood, CMR LGE can be postponed until 13 years of age. By the natural history of this large cohort of pediatric patients where HCV infection has been appropriately prevented, myocardial fibrosis seem to be associated with MIO and high cardiac output.


The MIOT project receives "no-profit support" from industrial sponsorships (Chiesi Farmaceutici S.p.A. and ApoPharma Inc.). This study was also supported by: "Ministero della Salute, fondi ex art. 12 D.Lgs. 502/92 e s.m.i., ricerca sanitaria finalizzata anno 2006" and "Fondazione L. Giambrone".

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This article is published under license to BioMed Central Ltd. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver ( applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated.

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Meloni, A., Casale, M., Filosa, A. et al. Myocardial fibrosis by CMR LGE in a large cohrt of pediatric thalassemia major patients. J Cardiovasc Magn Reson 16 (Suppl 1), P395 (2014).

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