Thai Study Looks at Quality of Life in Children with Thalassemia

February 5, 2010 – A study published online by BioMed Central Blood Disorders investigates the quality of life (QOL) among children with thalassemia in Thailand.

Entitled “Factors affecting health-related quality of life in Thai children with tha

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lassemia,” the cross-sectional study was conducted in three selected hospitals in Thailand over a six-month period in 2006. The study involved 315 patients between the ages of 5 and 18 and utilized the Thai version of the Pediatric Quality of Life Inventory (PedsQL) 4.0 Generic Core Scale and was designed to yield both a total score and two summary scores, one for Physical Health and one for Psychosocial Health.Thalassemia is recognized as an issue of concern in Thailand, with some estimates indicating that one-third of the population carries the trait for either alpha-thalassemia or beta-thalassemia. Of the 315 patients included in this study, 165 were classified as having e-beta thalassemia; 130 with hemoglobin H; and 15 with beta-thalassemia.


The mean of the total summary score was 76.67 (out of 100), with a standard deviation (SD) of 11.40. For the Physical Health Summary score, the mean was 78.24 (SD=14.77), and for the Psychosocial Health Summary score, the mean was 75.54 (SD=12.76). The mean for the school functioning subscale was lowest (67.89, SD=15.92).

The study concluded that the following factors significantly affect QOL:

Age at onset of anemia and age at first transfusion
Pre-transfusion hemoglobin level
Receiving a blood transfusion during the previous three months
Disease severity

In addition, iron chelation therapy was found to have a significant negative effect in the school functioning subscale. (Of the patients in this study, only 27.4% were on chelation therapy.)

Serum ferritin level, frequency of blood transfusions and gender were not found to significantly affect QOL.

The study authors are Montarat Thavorncharoensap, Kitti Torcharus, Issarang Nuchprayoon, Arthorn Riewpaiboon, Kaemthong Indaratna, and Bang-on Ubol.

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