[Skip to Navigation]
Access to paid content on this site is currently suspended due to excessive activity being detected from your IP address Please contact the publisher to request reinstatement.
September 1957

Leg Ulcers Associated with Mediterranean Anemia (Thalassemia Major and Minor)

Author Affiliations


From the Department of Dermatology, Minneapolis General Hospital, Carl W. Laymon, M.D., Director, and the Division of Dermatology, University of Minnesota, H. E. Michelson, M.D., Director.

AMA Arch Derm. 1957;76(3):351-356. doi:10.1001/archderm.1957.01550210077009

Since Pauling (1949) mentioned that abnormalities of hemoglobin formation may be genetically determined, there has been a tremendous impetus for the study of both normal and abnormal hemoglobin patterns. The medical literature has become voluminous on the various hemopathic syndromes, although little is to be found in the dermatologic journals. Thalassemia, or Mediterranean anemia, is being seen and recognized with increased frequency by dermatologists; hence a review of the syndrome seems indicated.

Cooley and Lee (1925) first described a disorder occurring in children of Mediterranean descent and characterized by anemia, hepatosplenomegaly, Mongoloid appearance, and discoloration of the skin and sclerae. Laboratory examinations showed there was bile in the urine and increased resistance of the patient's erythrocytes to hypotonic solutions. In addition, leukocytosis and nucleated red blood cells, chiefly of the normoblastic variety, were present in the blood. Roentgenograms showed enlargement of the cranial and