Thalassemia is the most common hemoglobinopathy in the world, with the highest prevalence in endemic areas of malaria such as the Mediterranean, subSaharan Africa, Asia-India, and south-east Asia. It has been estimated that 5% of the world’s population has at least one thalassemia variant allele, with as many as 900,000 individuals with clinically significant disease expected during the early 21st century, the majority in Southern China, India, and Southeast Asia. The disease is divided into alpha and beta thalassemia. Beta thalassemia is divided into minor, intermedia and major.
In general, thalassemia is an inherited disease characterized by a genetic betaglobin deficiency in hemoglobin synthesis. Symptoms depend on the form of thalassemia. Minor beta thalassemia is often diagnosed accidentally and clinical symptoms may not occur in this exact form. Symptoms of thalassemia intermedia and major are a weakness, changes in the skin and mucous membranes, paleness and other clinical signs of anemia. In the case of beta thalassemia, there is a higher risk of spontaneous abortions, premature birth, hemolytic anemia, thromboembolism and fetus growth restrictions. On the other hand, pregnant women with beta thalassemia have a similar incidence of pathology as the rest of the population. Pregnancy in conjunction with thalassemia is a complicated condition that requires multidisciplinary prenatal care (consisting of an obstetrician gynaecologist, neonatologist, geneticist and hematologist).
The purpose of this article is to review the literature, etiopathogenesis, clinics and diagnostics of beta thalassemia, pregnancy and delivery care.
Literature search: “PubMed”, “Medscape”, “Cochrane Library”, “UpToDate” medical databases and a “Google Scholar” search engine.