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Digital thermography and vascular involvement in β-thalassemia intermedia

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Beta-thalassemia intermedia (β-TI) is associated with vascular dysfunction. We used digital thermal monitoring (DTM), a non-invasive tool that evaluates vascular function based on changes in fingertip temperature during and after cuff occlusion on β-TI patients. Thirty-three patients (18 years and older) were recruited in this study and divided into 3 groups: thalassemia, anemic controls, and healthy controls. Exclusion criteria included factors that are known to be associated with vascular damage. Patients underwent DTM and results were extracted as vascular reactivity index (VRI), a measure of how well the circulatory system responds to stimuli that require adjustments of blood flow. One-way analysis of variance (ANOVA) was used to test the mean difference in VRI between the 3 groups. A multiple linear regression was also carried out with VRI as the outcome of interest and a function of covariates that were thought to be of clinical relevance to VRI. The frequency, mean VRI ± standard error (SE) for the thalassemic group were (N = 16), mean = 2.243 ± 0.111; for anemic controls (N = 9), mean = 2.374 ± 0.162; and for the controls (N = 8), mean = 2.338 ± 0.092. ANOVA test indicated a non-significant difference in mean VRI between the three groups (P value = 0.731). Multiple linear regression couldn’t detect any significant association between VRI and any of the predictors including the groups. Our study did not show a significant difference in VRI between the 3 study groups. Prospective studies of larger sample size are warranted to establish DTM as a possible non-invasive tool used to evaluate vascular function in β-TI patients.

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Funding was received from the Research Fund provided by the Dean’s office of the American University of Beirut.

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Correspondence to Ali T. Taher or Marwan M. Refaat.

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All procedures performed involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki Declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards. The study was approved by the Institutional Review Board (IRB) Committee of the American University of Beirut Medical Center.

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Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.

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Equal contribution for Miran A. Jaffa and Joseph Elias and both are considered second authors.

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Abdulhai, F., Jaffa, M.A., Elias, J. et al. Digital thermography and vascular involvement in β-thalassemia intermedia . Ann Hematol 100, 2471–2477 (2021).

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