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Natural History of Iron Burden and Risk of Organ Injury as Assessed and Predicted by Non-Invasive Measurement Techniques

Dr. Paul Harmatz, Dr. Elliott Vichinsky, and their research associates at Children’s Hospital and Research Center Oakland are conducting a four-year study to investigate whether liver iron concentration measured by SQUID-ferritometer or serum ferritin is a better predictor of organ damage due to iron overload or whether they have the same predictive value. This study began in 2003, and about 200 patients with thalassemia have been enrolled.

Who can participate?

    Inclusion Criteria
  • Patients older than three years
  • Patients who are at risk for iron overload or chelator toxicity
  • Patients who are able to lie down still for at least 30 minutes without sedation
    Exclusion Criteria
  • Patients who have electrical devices such as pacemakers or infusion pumps, which cannot be removed for the MRI
What does the study involve?
  • Patients will be asked to have their liver iron measured by SQUID-ferritometer at the HEDCO Health Science Center which is located at Children’s Hospital Oakland, Research Center, (CHORI) a few blocks away from the main hospital.
  • Patients will be asked to have a fasting blood draw.
  • Patients will be asked for an early morning urine collection.
  • A chart review will be done to obtain a patient’s medical history.

The SQUID measurement will be completed with no charge to patients.

Are there any possible risks related to the SQUID measurements?

  • The SQUID-ferritometer is considered to be a safe investigational device, and no risk related to the SQUID-ferritometer is expected. Drawing blood may cause temporary discomfort from the needle stick. The amount of blood drawn will not exceed 2 tablespoons in adults and 1 tablespoon in children.

For more information, please contact Zahra Pakbaz, MD at Children's Hospital & Research Center at Oakland, 510-428-3885, ext. 4248 or ask your clinical care provider.

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