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Longitudinal Growth Attainments of Transfusion Dependent Beta-Thalassemia Children

A. K. Bhalla, R. K. Marwaha and Harvinder Kau


Published: 2008/06/01


The pattern of body weight and height / supine length growth was studied in 259 boys and 84 girls with transfusiondependent?-thalassemia, using a mixed-longitudinal growth study design. Every child was measured between 1 and 19 years of age at half-yearly intervals using standardized techniques and instruments. Mean body weight and height in thalassemia boys measured 8.1±1.3 kg and 71.7±3.4 cm at one year and 42.5±7.9 kg and 156.0±10.9 cm at nineteen years of age. The corresponding figures in girls were 7.9±0.0 kg and 68.5±0.0 cm at one year and 46.6±5.4 kg and 151.0±3.4 cm at 19.0 years. Average pretransfusion hemoglobin level in thalassemia boys and girls ranged from 7.7 g/dl to 12.8 g/dl and 8.2 g/dl to 11.5 g/dl respectively. Growth attainments of thalassemia children remained comparable to their normal American and Indian counterparts up to 8.0 years, whereafter these patients experienced a phase of severe growth deficit that continued until 19.0 years. Growth velocity curves plotted for weight and height of thalassemia patients exhibited a highly vascillatory trend. Average peak height velocity (PHV) was 3.2 cm/yr in boys and 3.4 cm/yr in girls. Attainment of PHV in thalassemia boys (17.5 yr) and girls (14.5 yr) was delayed by 5.0 and 3.0 years respectively as compared to well-off Chandigarh boys (12.5 yr) and girls (11.5 yr). Peak weight velocity in thalassemia boys (14.5 yr) and girls (15.5 yr) was also delayed by 1.0 and 4.0 years respectively. Patients of both sexes grew normally up to 8.0 years of life whereafter they experienced growth retardation, the magnitude of which increased with advancing age until adulthood.

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