Information for U.S. Thalassemia Patients Traveling Abroad

August 4, 2016 – The Cooley’s Anemia Foundation recommends that individuals with thalassemia who intend on traveling internationally inform their doctor about travel plans. With careful planning, your doctor can create a transfusion schedule that will help you avoid emergencies during your trip. Don’t forget that this careful planning should include the transfusion upon your return, not just the transfusion before departure.

Weather and other local or international disruptions of travel can cause patients to come home more anemic than usual. It is in everyone’s best interest – patients, thalassemia team and health centers – to avoid the need for “urgent” transfusions upon return.

Ask your doctor if they have recommendations for healthcare providers in the area where you will be traveling in the case that you still require medical assistance during your visit. For additional assistance locating healthcare providers around the globe, contact the Thalassaemia International Federation (TIF). Contact information for TIF is listed below.

Thalassemia International Federation

Telephone: +357 22 319 129



Patients with thalassemia who live in the United States and are planning international travel should be aware that the health care delivery system in other countries may differ significantly from that of the United States. The Thalassaemia International Federation (TIF) issues the following recommendations to thalassemia patients who intend to travel to another country:

  • To have their last blood transfusion session as close to their departure date as possible;
  • To secure enough quantities for their iron chelation therapy and other medicines to cover their needs for at least a month;
  • To have a copy of their medical file from their treating physician with all relevant information (hematological and other tests etc.) for at least the last six months, in order to ensure as much as possible continuity of treatment;
  • To contact the Thalassaemia International Federation (TIF) and to state the institution, city and country they would travel to (if you would like recommendations for healthcare providers).
  • To furnish to TIF the name and contact details of the National Thalassaemia Association of the country, if available (if you would like recommendations for healthcare providers).

When TIF receives the information on the institution/city/country, TIF then:

  • Informs the National Thalassaemia Association (member of the TIF family) in the respective country requesting to facilitate the patient, to whom we furnish full contact details and focal person. In addition, TIF will also seek to find out the costs regarding blood transfusion and iron chelation therapies and whether these costs are covered by the national health service of the country in question;
  • Informs a medical professional that closely collaborates with TIF and (if not him/her being a thalassaemia-treating physician) to identify a medical professional that may be able to assist the patient, when the need arises.
  • Identifies the nearest Thalassaemia center and/or hospital to which the patient can seek medical assistance and the name of a focal person if available.

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