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Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews

Splenectomy for people with thalassaemia major or intermedia

Overview of attention for article published in Cochrane database of systematic reviews, June 2016
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Splenectomy for people with thalassaemia major or intermedia
Published in
Cochrane database of systematic reviews, June 2016
DOI 10.1002/14651858.cd010517.pub2
Pubmed ID

Manu Easow Mathew, Akshay Sharma, Rajeev Aravindakshan


Thalassaemia is a genetic disease of the haemoglobin protein in red blood cells. It is classified into thalassaemia minor, intermedia and major, depending on the severity of the disease and the genetic defect. Thalassaemia major and intermedia require frequent blood transfusions to compensate for the lack of well-functioning red blood cells, although this need is significantly less in thalassaemia intermedia.Damaged or defective red blood cells are normally eliminated in the spleen. In people with thalassaemia there is a large quantity of defective red blood cells which results in an enlarged hyperfunctioning spleen (splenomegaly). Removal of the spleen may thus prolong red blood cell survival by reducing the amount of red blood cells removed from circulation and may ultimately result in the reduced need for blood transfusions. To assess the efficacy and safety of splenectomy in people with beta-thalassaemia major or intermedia. We searched the Cochrane Cystic Fibrosis and Genetic Disorders Review Group's Haemoglobinopathies Trials Register, compiled from searches of electronic databases and the handsearching of journals and conference abstract books. We also searched the reference lists of relevant articles and reviews.Date of the most recent search: 25 April 2016. We included randomised controlled studies and quasi-randomised controlled studies of people of any age with thalassaemia major or intermedia, evaluating splenectomy in comparison to conservative treatment (transfusion therapy and iron chelation) or other forms of splenectomy compared to each other (laparoscopic, open, radio-frequency). Two authors independently selected and extracted data from the single included study using a customised data extraction form and assessed the risk of bias. One study, including 28 participants was included in the review; the results were described, primarily, in a narrative manner. The study assessed the feasibility of splenectomy using laparoscopy in comparison to open surgery. Given the lack of detail regarding the study methods beyond randomisation, the overall risk of bias for this study was unclear. The study was carried out over a period of 3.5 years, with each participant followed up only until discharge (less than one week after the intervention); it did not assess the majority of the outcomes outlined in this review (including two of the three primary outcomes, frequency of transfusion and quality of life). A total of three serious post-operative adverse events (the review's third primary outcome) were reported in the laparoscopic splenectomy group (one case of atelectasis and two cases of bleeding), compared to two events of atelectasis in the open surgery group; however, there were no significant differences between the groups for either atelectasis, risk ratio 0.50 (95% confidence interval 0.05 to 4.90) or for bleeding, risk ratio 5.00 (95% confidence interval 0.26 to 95.61). In addition, the study also reported three serious cases of intra-operative bleeding in the laparoscopic group which mandated conversion to open surgery, although the difference between groups was not statistically significant, risk ratio 7.00 (95% confidence interval 0.39 to 124.14). These effect estimates are based on very small numbers and hence are unreliable and imprecise. From this small study, there appeared to be an advantage for the laparoscopic approach, in terms of post-operative hospital stay, although the group difference was not large (median difference of 1.5 days, P = 0.03). The review was unable to find good quality evidence, in the form of randomised controlled studies, regarding the efficacy of splenectomy for treating thalassaemia major or intermedia. The single included study provided little information about the efficacy of splenectomy, and compared open surgery and laparoscopic methods. Further studies need to evaluate the long-term effectiveness of splenectomy and the comparative advantages of surgical methods. Due to a lack of high quality evidence from randomised controlled studies, well-conducted observational studies may be used to answer this question.

Mendeley readers

The data shown below were compiled from readership statistics for 70 Mendeley readers of this research output. Click here to see the associated Mendeley record.

Geographical breakdown

Country Count As %
United States 1 1%
Unknown 69 99%

Demographic breakdown

Readers by professional status Count As %
Student > Bachelor 15 21%
Student > Ph. D. Student 10 14%
Student > Master 8 11%
Researcher 7 10%
Student > Doctoral Student 5 7%
Other 13 19%
Unknown 12 17%
Readers by discipline Count As %
Medicine and Dentistry 38 54%
Psychology 5 7%
Pharmacology, Toxicology and Pharmaceutical Science 4 6%
Nursing and Health Professions 2 3%
Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology 2 3%
Other 5 7%
Unknown 14 20%

Attention Score in Context

This research output has an Altmetric Attention Score of 1. This is our high-level measure of the quality and quantity of online attention that it has received. This Attention Score, as well as the ranking and number of research outputs shown below, was calculated when the research output was last mentioned on 03 November 2017.
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