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Year : 2014  |  Volume : 3  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 119-123

Effect of long-term transfusion therapy on the glycometabolic status and pancreatic beta cell function in patients with beta Thalassemia major

1 Department of Pediatrics, Kasturba Medical College, Manipal University, Mangalore, Karnataka, India
2 Department of Pediatrics, Baby Hospital, Erode, Tamilnadu, India

Correspondence Address:
Kamalakshi G Bhat
Department of Pediatrics, Kasturba Medical College and Hospital, Attavar, Mangalore - 575 001, Karnataka
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/2249-4863.137621

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Background: Diabetes mellitus is a major complication of iron overload in patients with beta thalassemia major. Design: This is a descriptive study conducted in a Tertiary Care Teaching Hospital to analyze beta cell function and insulin resistance, and their relation to iron overload status in beta thalassemia major. Fasting glucose, two-hour post load glucose, fasting insulin, alanine amino transaminase (ALT), and ferritin were used as outcome measures. The homeostatic model assessment (HOMA model) was used to calculate the beta cell function and insulin resistance index. Results: Of the 30 cases, 20% had impaired fasting glucose, 3.3% had impaired glucose tolerance, and none had diabetes. Fasting glucose was not significant between the cases and controls (P = 0.113). Fasting insulin (P = 0.001), ferritin (P = 0.001), and ALT (P = 0.001) levels were significantly high in the cases. Insulin resistance index was significantly higher in the cases (P = 0.001) as also the beta cell function (P = 0.001). With increase in age and the number of units transfused there is a decline in beta cell function, fasting insulin, and insulin resistance after attaining the maximum level. This suggests that initial insulin resistance is followed by insulin depletion due to loss of beta cell function, leading to diabetes mellitus. Conclusion: Impaired glucose tolerance (IGT) and insulin resistance precede the onset of insulin-dependent diabetes and adequate chelation therapy is essential for delaying the onset or for prevention of diabetes.

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