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Giornale Italiano di Dermatologia e Venereologia 2001 June;136(3):195-201

Copyright © 2001 EDIZIONI MINERVA MEDICA

language: Italian

Leg ulcers and hemoglobinopathies

Rosina P., D’Onghia F. S., Chieregato C., Vassanelli A., Bertuzzo D.

Università degli Studi - Verona Servizio di Dermatologia e Venereologia Dipartimento di ScienzeBiomediche e Chirurgiche *Azienda Ospedaliera - Verona Servizio di Immunoematologia e Trasfusione


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Hemoglobinopathies are characterised by an inherited defect in the rate of globin chain synthesis (thalassemias), an inherited defect causing the synthesis of an abnormal globin chain (sickle cell disease) or a combination of such defects. These hematologic abnormalities can induce cutaneous ulceration through circulatory impairment which may be complicated by anemia. Leg ulcers are a frequent complication in patients with sickle cell anemia and beta thalassemia major causing significant physical disability and negative psychological and social impact, above all in Africa and Jamaica. Prevalence of leg ulcers vary widely in different countries and differences are likely related to age and phenotypic variation. Social and environmental factors have an important additional influence and make the treatment of leg ulcers a difficult problem. Leg ulcers in hemoglobinopathies are rarely reported in Europe but this pathology will become more common during next years for the increasing phenomenon of immigration. The pathogenesis, clinical features and management of these types of leg ulcers are emphasised in this review.

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