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March 16, 1979

Treatment of Primary Hemochromatosis With Deferoxamine

Author Affiliations

From the Clinical Hematology Branch, National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Md.

JAMA. 1979;241(11):1152-1154. doi:10.1001/jama.1979.03290370056031

IN PATIENTS with hemochromatosis, congestive heart failure is usually intractable and often heralds rapid deterioration and death.1 In some cases of primary hemochromatosis, vigorous phlebotomy therapy has resulted in the relief of heart failure and prolonged life.1 In patients in whom hemochromatosis is secondary to transfusion therapy or in those in whom hemochromatosis accompanies anemia, therapy with the iron-chelating agent deferoxamine mesylate has been employed to reverse tissue damage.2 This report describes a patient with hereditary hemochromatosis and coincident β-thalassemia trait who had complete reversal of congestive heart failure, pericarditis, and cardiac arrhythmias while receiving deferoxamine.

Report of a Case  A 37-year-old man was admitted to the Clinical Center of the National Institutes of Health for treatment of severe congestive heart failure. Dyspnea with exertion developed in 1942 when he was 13 years old; he was found to be mildly anemic, and therapy was begun with ferrous sulfate,