July 13, 2010

Causes, Symptoms and Treatment For Transfusional Siderosis and Pulmonary Hemosiderosis

Posted in Category : Common Ailments

Hemosiderin is a yellow-brown, granular, iron-containing pigment derived from the breakdown of the hemoglobin. Hemosiderin staining, or hemosiderosis, is the term used medically to define the condition of iron overload. The improper functioning of the red blood cells causes the body to store excess iron in the organ tissues. The buildup of hemosiderin in the interstitial fluid results in a brown or rusty discoloration of the skin. This iron overload could cause damage to organ tissues and may result in serious health complications.

There are different types of Hemosiderin Staining: Hemosiderosis can also be caused by inherited genetic mutations. Other forms of Hemosiderin Staining are caused by certain external factors.

Pulmonary Hemosiderosis arises when a patient suffers from continuous incidences of bleeding in the lungs. This may result in an abnormal buildup of iron in the tissues of the lungs. This could result in the condition of pulmonary fibrosis or scarring of lungs, possible anemia and, in some rare cases, death as a result of pulmonary hemorrhaging.

Symptoms of pulmonary Hemosiderosis include certain physical changes mainly to lung tissues and also coughing up blood.

Renal Hemosiderosis and Organ-Specific Iron Overload: Renal hemosiderosis is indicative of damaging iron overload in the kidneys. Renal hemosiderosis could arise due to the quick and continuous destruction of red blood cells and the resulting release of hemoglobin that is rich in iron. As hemoglobin and iron accumulate in the renal tissue, the urine would also turn red, tea-colored or brown.

The liver also is prone to organ-specific overload of iron. This occurs when irregular iron levels build up in the liver.

A form of Hemosiderin Staining, called Transfusional Siderosis, results from artificial means. It is caused by recurrent blood transfusions. Frequent blood transfusions form part of a life-sustaining treatment to curb a number of situations that could cause severe cases of anemia, such as failure of bone marrow and thalassemia. However, since every unit of blood has somewhere between 200 and 300 milligrams of iron, continuous blood transfusions would cause the overload iron and result in transfusional hemosiderosis.

Treatment for hemosiderin focuses on reducing the effects of the underlying disease that leads to continued deposition. In some cases, this involves frequent phlebotomy or the regular drawing of blood to reduce the iron overload. The underlying conditions associated with transfusional siderosis make phlebotomy an unreasonable treatment. Instead, transfusional siderosis should be treated using chelation therapy, and it uses body proteins and synthetic compounds to remove iron from the blood. Other forms of treatment include:

  • Oxygen supplementation
  • Supportive respiratory therapy and Mechanical ventilatory support for respiratory failure
  • Immunosuppressive therapy

Before starting of any treatment for Hemosiderin Staining, it is important that you consult a professional medical person in order to get the right advice for your specific case.