Non-invasive measurement of the iron overload in the human body.

Assessment of body-iron accumulation is essential for diagnosis and managing therapy of iron overload diseases characterized by iron overload such as thalassemia, hereditary hemochromatosis, myelodysplasia and other forms of severe anemia.

At present, the gold standard to determine liver-iron concentration (LIC) is the invasive liver needle biopsy; SQUID biosusceptometers and MRI are currently the only non-invasive validated methods for LIC measurements. The Magnetic Iron Detector (MID) susceptometer measures the total iron overload in the whole liver of patient. All of its components operate at room temperature, it is simpler to operate and more affordable then competing techniques. Since February 05, about 400 patients and 90 healthy volunteers have been measured for a total MID measurements greater than 700. At present, the error in liver iron is about 1g (SD), corresponding to typical concentrations of 0.5 mg/cm3. The reproducibility of the iron overload of the same patients, measured after a relatively short lapse of time, is better than 0.5 g. We correlate the MID measurements with the SQUID measurements (Dr. A.Piga, Torino, Italy) of about 60 patients and with MRI measurements of about 40 patients: for both R~0.8. The correlation between iron overload and blood serum-ferritin concentration has been completed for all measurements (R>0.7). The measured iron reduction of hemochromatosis patients, subjected to phlebotomy therapy, is compared with the assessment of the iron depletion obtained with the phlebotomy therapy.

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