Transfusions of red blood cells are the main treatment for people who have moderate or severe thalassemia’s. This treatment gives you healthy red blood cells with normal hemoglobin.
During a blood transfusion, a needle is used to insert an intravenous (IV) line into one of your blood vessels. Through this line, you receive healthy blood. The procedure usually takes 3 to 5 hours.
Red blood cells live only for about 120 days. So, you may need repeated transfusions to maintain a healthy supply of red blood cells.
Splenectomy has in the past played a major role in the treatment of thalassemia, but increased awareness of its adverse effects have significantly decreased its use. When the surgical procedure is necessary measures must be taken in order to protect the patient from the risk of infection and thrombosis.
Iron chelation therapy
The hemoglobin in red blood cells is an iron-rich protein. Thus, regular blood transfusions can lead to a buildup of iron in the blood. This condition is called iron overload. It damages the liver, heart, and other parts of the body.
To prevent this damage, doctor’s use iron chelation therapy to remove excess iron from the body. Two medicines are used for iron chelation therapy.