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Ned Tijdschr Geneeskd. 2003 Apr 5;147(14):666-70.

[Diagnosis of 5 patients with possible primary hemochromatosis].

[Article in Dutch]

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  • 1Afd. Algemene Inwendige Geneeskunde, Universitair Medisch Centrum St Radboud, Postbus 9101, 6500 HB Nijmegen.


In a 49-year-old man and a 28-year-old woman, both of whom complained of fatigue, HFE-gen related respectively non-HFE-gen related primary haemochromatosis was diagnosed, based on the elevated serum transferrin saturation, the elevated serum ferritin levels, DNA studies and liver biopsy with qualitative respectively quantitative iron measurements. Their complaints diminished after bloodletting. Three women respectively 64, 61 and 46 years of age, were also suspected of primary haemochromatosis. The latter two presented with complaints of fatigue and malaise and chronic hepatitis C respectively. All three showed an elevated serum transferrin saturation and serum ferritin concentration. Further investigation showed the presence of secundary iron overload. Causes for it being excessive alcohol consumption, overweight and a poorly regulated diabetes mellitus type 2, and chronic hepatitis C respectively. These patients received specific therapy. Primary haemochromatosis is a common disorder of iron metabolism in individuals of Northern European descent. Diagnosis is based on an elevated serum transferrin saturation in combination with both elevated serum ferritin levels and homozygosity for the Cys282Tyr-mutation in the HFE-gen. The presence of an elevated serum transferrin saturation in combination with an elevated serum ferritin level is not always sufficient for the diagnosis, since these may be affected by other disorders. Moreover, iron overload may be caused by a form of haemochromatosis that is not HFE-related. In case of doubt as to the diagnosis, histological examination of the liver with a qualitative or quantitative iron determination is the golden standard.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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