Effective treatment of hereditary haemochromatosis with desferrioxamine in selected cases


Dr Peter Nielsen, Institut Molekulare Zellbiologie, Universitätsklinikum Hamburg-Eppendorf Martinistrasse 52 (Hs N41), Hamburg 20246, Germany.
E-mail: nielsen@uke.uni-hamburg.de


Summary.  The treatment of iron overload by s.c. desferrioxamine (DFO) was studied in three patients with hereditary haemochromatosis in which phlebotomy treatment was not, or transiently not, possible because of their serious clinical condition or the lack of appropriate peripheral veins. Repeated non-invasive liver iron concentration measurements by superconducting quantum interference device biosusceptometry showed that DFO treatment (2 g/d for 9–11 months) was as effective (liver iron elimination rate: 12 mg/d) as normal phlebotomy treatment (5·9 or 14·3 mg/d respectively) with weekly 500-ml blood removals. This demonstrates that DFO is an effective alternative therapy for haemochromatosis when phlebotomy is not possible.