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July 1981

Spinal Cord Compression in Thalassemia: Report of 12 Cases and Recommendations for Treatment

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, Siriraj Hospital, Mahidol University, Bangkok, Thailand.

Arch Intern Med. 1981;141(8):1033-1036. doi:10.1001/archinte.1981.00340080073017

• Twelve patients with β0-thalassemia/hemoglobin E disease had spinal cord compression. Ten were male and two female, aged 17 to 40 years. The causes of spinal cord compression presumably were extramedullary hematopoietic masses. This was proved by surgery in two cases. In six cases, myelography demonstrated extradural blockade. In the others, the recurrent nature of the paraparesis and the prompt response to deep x-ray therapy were compatible with cord compression by extramedullary hematopoietic masses. Although spontaneous recovery and disappearance of the neurological signs after blood transfusions were observed, these were slow and uncertain. Deep x-ray therapy led to prompt response with more lasting benefit in all cases and is thus recommended as standard treatment for this complication.

(Arch Intern Med 1981;141:1033-1036)