A Little Girl’s Battle with Thalassemia

Ana Phonesavath is a brave little girl afflicted with thalassemia, an inherited blood disorder. In fact, she has homozygous Beta 0 thalassemia, which is the most severe type.

When she was only five months old, she appeared to be very pale and was brought to Lao Friends Hospital for Children. Her family history revealed that her parents were carriers of the thalassemia trait and subsequent hemoglobin typing led to a diagnosis of thalassemia.

Since that time, Ana’s parents have brought her to LFHC’s Thalassemia Clinic every 3-4 weeks for blood transfusions. Transfusion therapy is common among patients with thalassemia. Ana’s frequent blood transfusions caused an iron overload in her blood, but that is being treated with a medication called deferiprone.

Ana is a great example of how well children with thalassemia can do with regular transfusions and follow up!

A total of 303 patients were enrolled in the hospital’s Thalassemia Clinic in 2019.

Patients with thalassemia have less oxygen-carrying protein (hemoglobin) and fewer red blood cells in their bodies than normal. Symptoms include paleness, weakness and slow growth. The condition can lead to anemia.