European Radiology

, Volume 17, Issue 6, pp 1535–1543 | Cite as

The pancreas in β-thalassemia major: MR imaging features and correlation with iron stores and glucose disturbunces

  • Olympia PapakonstantinouEmail author
  • Vasilios Ladis
  • Stavroula Kostaridou
  • Thomas Maris
  • Helen Berdousi
  • Christos Kattamis
  • Nicholas Gourtsoyiannis


The study aims at describing the MR features of pancreas in beta-thalassemia major, investigating the relations between MR findings and glucose disturbances and between hepatic and pancreatic siderosis. Signal intensity ratios of the pancreas and liver to right paraspinous muscle (P/M, L/M) were retrospectively assessed on abdominal MR imaging studies of 31 transfusion-dependent patients with beta-thalassemia major undergoing quantification of hepatic siderosis and 10 healthy controls, using T1- (120/4/90), intermediate in and out of phase - (120/2.7, 4/20), and T2*-(120/15/20) weighted GRE sequences. Using the signal drop of the liver and pancreas on opposed phase images, we recorded serum ferritin and results of oral glucose tolerance test (OGTT). Decreased L/M and P/M on at least the T2* sequence were noticed in 31/31 and 30/31 patients, respectively, but no correlation between P/M and L/M was found. Patients with pathologic OGTT displayed a higher degree of hepatic siderosis (p < 0.04) and signal drop of pancreas on opposed phase imaging (p < 0.025), implying fatty replacement of pancreas. P/M was neither correlated with glucose disturbances nor serum ferritin. Iron deposition in the pancreas cannot be predicted by the degree of hepatic siderosis in beta-thalassemia major. Fatty replacement of the pancreas is common and may be associated with glucose disturbances.


Pancreas MR imaging Thalassemia Liver 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • Olympia Papakonstantinou
    • 1
    • 3
    Email author
  • Vasilios Ladis
    • 2
  • Stavroula Kostaridou
    • 2
  • Thomas Maris
    • 1
  • Helen Berdousi
    • 2
  • Christos Kattamis
    • 2
  • Nicholas Gourtsoyiannis
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of RadiologyUniversity Hospital of Heraklion, Medical School of CreteHeraklionGreece
  2. 2.“Aghia Sophia” Children’s HospitalThalassemia Unit, University of AthensAthensGreece
  3. 3.2nd Department of RadiologyAttikon HospitalAthensGreece

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