A controlled trial of continuous chelation therapy in regularly transfused children with homozygous β-thalassaemia has been in progress at the Hospital for Sick Children since April 1966. In the sixth and seventh years of the trial the effect of this treatment on iron overload has been assessed by estimating serum ferritin levels and liver iron concentrations in both chelator-treated and control groups. When compared with non-chelated controls, results of both these estimations were invariably lower in the chelated group. However, all the results in both groups were very high, and fell within the ranges observed in untreated idiopathic haemochromatosis. A close correlation was found between serum ferritin levels and liver iron concentrations in these children, indicating that serum ferritin is a valuable alternative to liver iron concentration in the assessment of visceral iron overload, even when massive tissue siderosis is present.
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