Serum ferritin, liver iron stores, and liver histology were studied in 38 children with thalassaemia major who were being treated by regular blood transfusions. There was no correlation between serum ferritin levels and either the number of transfusions or the amount of iron deposited in the liver. However, for a given level of iron stores, ferritin levels were higher in patients with chronic hepatitis (including chronic aggressive and chronic persistent forms) than in those with hepatic siderosis only. We conclude that serum ferritin reflects tissue iron deposits in regularly transfused thalassaemic patients, only in the absence of hepatitis.
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