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Mediterr J Hematol Infect Dis ; 12(1): e2020046, 2020.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1792270


OBJECTIVES: This study aims to investigate, retrospectively, the epidemiological and clinical characteristics, laboratory results, radiologic findings, and outcomes of COVID-19 in patients with transfusion-dependent ß thalassemia major (TM), ß-thalassemia intermedia (TI) and sickle cell disease (SCD). DESIGN: A total of 17 Centers, from 10 countries, following 9,499 patients with hemoglobinopathies, participated in the survey. MAIN OUTCOME DATA: Clinical, laboratory, and radiologic findings and outcomes of patients with COVID-19 were collected from medical records and summarized. RESULTS: A total of 13 patients, 7 with TM, 3 with TI, and 3 with SCD, with confirmed COVID-19, were identified in 6 Centers from different countries. The overall mean age of patients was 33.7±12.3 years (range:13-66); 9/13 (69.2%) patients were females. Six patients had pneumonia, and 4 needed oxygen therapy. Increased C-reactive protein (6/10), high serum lactate dehydrogenase (LDH; 6/10), and erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR; 6/10) were the most common laboratory findings. 6/10 patients had an exacerbation of anemia (2 with SCD). In the majority of patients, the course of COVID-19 was moderate (6/10) and severe in 3/10 patients. A 30-year-old female with TM, developed a critical SARS-CoV-2 infection, followed by death in an Intensive Care Unit. In one Center (Oman), the majority of suspected cases were observed in patients with SCD between the age of 21 and 40 years. A rapid clinical improvement of tachypnea/dyspnea and oxygen saturation was observed, after red blood cell exchange transfusion, in a young girl with SCD and worsening of anemia (Hb level from 9.2 g/dl to 6.1g/dl). CONCLUSIONS: The data presented in this survey permit an early assessment of the clinical characteristics of COVID 19 in different countries. 70% of symptomatic patients with COVID- 19 required hospitalization. The presence of associated co-morbidities can aggravate the severity of COVID- 19, leading to a poorer prognosis irrespective of age.

Am J Hematol ; 97(2): E75-E78, 2022 02 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1565162
Blood ; 136(Supplement 1):39-40, 2020.
Article in English | PMC | ID: covidwho-1339068


IntroductionAsplenic patients are at high risk of potentially fatal invasive infections, such as sepsis, meningitis, and pneumonia. It has been shown that infection from influenza viruses can precede or increase the risk of bacterial infection and of serious complications of the underlying disease. International and national guidelines recommend annual influenza vaccination in asplenic subjects. Following the Covid-19 pandemic, the major government and medical-scientific institutions in the US and in Europe have been planning how to contain infection during the 2020-2021 influenza season. Extending influenza vaccination is the safest and most effective way to reduce the circulation of influenza virus and to promote the correct diagnosis and management of suspected cases of SARS-CoV-2. Influenza vaccination also reduces complications associated with the underlying disease and visits to Emergency Units. Our study aims to evaluate influenza vaccination in a large population of asplenic patients and explore the main causes for non-vaccination to identify critical areas for improvement in the vaccination programme in these at-risk patients for the 2020-2021 influenza season.MethodsThe Italian Network of Asplenia (INA) is made up of 88 doctors working in 50 clinical centers in 27 cities and 16 of the 20 regions of Italy. It aims to build a large, prospective cohort of asplenic patients throughout Italy through which to study the interaction between asplenia and its associated underlying conditions, collecting precise, accurate data also in cases of rarer diseases. The study also aims to improve the quality of healthcare for this at-risk population. The number of patients enrolled in the Network who had had at least one dose of influenza vaccine at the time of diagnosis of asplenia was retrieved from the INA database. All participating centers were asked to answer a questionnaire to report the main obstacles for influenza vaccination.ResultsAt 1st August 2020, 1,670 patients had been enrolled in the INA (783 females;887 males). All underlying causes of asplenia are shown in Table 1. Only 466 (28%) patients had had at least one influenza vaccination, while 1,204 (72%) had never been vaccinated since diagnosis of asplenia. Thirty-five (70%) of the 50 centers answered the questionnaire. Main causes of non-vaccination were physicians' ambivalence concerning vaccination and patients' inadequate awareness or logistical problems.ConclusionsThese data show very low seasonal influenza vaccination cover even though asplenic patients are considered at-risk of complications associated with infection from influenza viruses. Since the 2020-2021 influenza season could see influenza viruses in circulation with SARS-CoV-2, influenza vaccination must be expanded as widely as possible, in particular to subjects of all ages at high risk. These results reveal important areas of concern in the management of asplenic patients and the need to improve the quality of information to physicians and patients alike. The INA co-ordinating center will launch a campaign to provide information and organize ad hoc meetings to widen influenza vaccination coverage in asplenic patients and reduce the pressure on the national health service during the next influenza season.

Acta Biomed ; 91(3): e2020026, 2020 09 07.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-761241


A review of the literature on COVID-19 pandemic in patients with thalassemias is presented. Globally, the prevalence of COVID-19 among  ß-thalassemia patients seems to be lower than in general population; associated co-morbidities aggravated the severity of  COVID- 19, leading to a poorer prognosis, irrespective of age. A multicenter registry will enhance the understanding of COVID-19 in these patients and will lead to more evidence-based management recommendations.

Betacoronavirus , Coronavirus Infections/epidemiology , Pandemics , Pneumonia, Viral/epidemiology , Thalassemia/epidemiology , COVID-19 , Comorbidity , Global Health , Humans , Prevalence , SARS-CoV-2