As a consequence of frequent transfusions, 10% of 169 Italian patients with thalassaemia developed Au(1) and 20% anti-Au(1). Au(1) persisted in the children in whom it was detected for the duration of the study (2-7 years) or until the patient died. Anti-Au(1) was less persistent.
In these children, Au(1) or anti-Au(1) was detected, but not both, suggesting that patients with persistent Au(1) and antibody formers represent two distinct subgroups of the thalassaemia population. Au(1) was more common in males and in patients less than 7 years old, and was associated with earlier death; whereas antibody was more common in females, and in children older than 7 years, and was associated with longer survival.
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