Introduction: Zinc has a significant positive effect on the immune system and physical development in human beings. Many investigators believe that the level of plasma zinc in thalasemic patients is reduced firstly because of receiving chelators like desferoxamin, and secondly because of impairment of some organs like kidney, liver, thyroid and hypophysis. Therefore this study was carried out to determine the level of plasma zinc in major thalasemics referred to the Thalasemic Centre of Kermanshah during 2002.
Materials & Methods: This study was a descriptive study in which 100 major thalasemics were investigated. First of all some criteria with a checklist including age, weight, and sex were collected to know how many desferalls and packs of blood they received. Plasma zinc level was determined using the flam photometer atomic absorption method. Serum ferritin level was measured using radio immuno assay and blood urea and creatinin using auto analyzer method. ANOVA and Chi square test were used for statistical analysis.
Results: The mean of the patients age was 10.46± 5.25 yr, 53% was male and 47% female.
Most of them had a normal level of zinc and also 23% of them had a high level of zinc. 80% of patients received packs of blood more than 240 ml/kg/yr and the correlation between plasma zinc and blood transfusion in them was statistically significant (P= 0.025). Patients who received transfusion more than normal present much higher hevel of zinc than patients received an abnormal level of desferoxamin. The study showed that correlation between plasma zinc and blood urea was statistically significant (p=0.009).
Conclusion: This study showed that there was no decrease in plasma zinc of the patients. The findings showed that their treatment based on desferoxamin and transfusion has not been closely regulated and this may significantly affect the zinc status. Therefore decision on the requirement of zinc in such patients needs further studies. With satisfactory well-controlled treatment in these patients it is recommended that the level of zinc in such patients be determined by not only in plasma but also in 24 hours urine sample collections.
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