Differentiating Alpha from Beta Thalassemias - USMLE Forums
USMLE Forums Logo
USMLE Forums         Your Reliable USMLE Online Community     Members     Posts
USMLE Articles
Go Back   USMLE Forums > USMLE Step 1 Forum > USMLE Step 1 High Yield > USMLE Step 1 Bits & Pieces

USMLE Step 1 Bits & Pieces High yield short focused points, monographs, charts, illustrations, tables, and other stuff related to the USMLE Step 1 Exam.

Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
Old 05-31-2011
bebix's Avatar
USMLE Forums Master
Steps History: 1+CK+CS+3
Posts: 1,357
Threads: 194
Thanked 3,269 Times in 881 Posts
Reputation: 3279
Arrow Differentiating Alpha from Beta Thalassemias

"blacks, Greeks and Italians"

1.- Major beta thalassemia
- Skeletal changes : "chipmunk facies", delayed skeletal maturation and "hair-on-end" radiographic appearance of the skull.
- Hepatomegaly is prominent early in the disease + massive splenomegaly
- Endocrine and metabolic abnormalities*(quite common) attributable, at least in part, to chronic iron overload.
Hypogonadism 40 percent, Growth failure 33 percent, Diabetes 13 percent & Hypothyroidism 10 percent.
- Cardiac malfunction, including heart failure and fatal arrhythmias, are frequent causes of death, and cardiac dilatation secondary to anemia is nearly universal.
basic lab: profound hypochromic, microcytic anemia (MCV < 65 fL) & target cell

2.- Beta thalassemia minor (or beta thalassemia trait / silent carrier of beta thalassemia = heterozygotes who carry one normal beta globin allele and one beta globin thalassemic allele.)
The vast majority of these patients are entirely asymptomatic.
Typically, the blood count and peripheral blood film exhibit features similar to those seen in iron deficiency anemia (eg, hypochromia and microcytosis), but this patients almost always have a hematocrit >30 percent, and a mean corpuscular volume of the red cells (MCV) <75 fL. We also can see target and tear drop shaped red cells.

"blacks and Southeast Asians"

1.- Alpha thalassemia-2 trait (aka alpha thalassemia minima aa/a-): Patients are asymptomatic. The complete blood count, hemoglobin electrophoresis, and peripheral smear are usually normal.

2.- Alpha thalassemia-1 trait (aka alpha thalassemia minor) resembles mild beta thalassemia trait.

3.- Hemoglobin H disease: This patients suffer from hemolytic anemia throughout much of gestation and are symptomatic at birth, often presenting with neonatal jaundice and anemia, and occasionally with hydrops fetalis. This occurs because alpha globin synthesis is required in utero for the production of the major hemoglobin found during late gestation: hemoglobin F (alpha2/gamma2). Patients with beta thalassemia, on the other hand, do not have these difficulties until a few months after birth, when hemoglobin F production decreases markedly and there is a need for increased production of beta chains for hemoglobin A (alpha2/beta2).

4.- Hydrops fetalis and hemoglobin Barts is usually fatal in utero.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
The above post was thanked by:
Awas (11-02-2012), mle guy (06-01-2011), mmtj (05-31-2011), pass7 (05-31-2011)


Hematology-, Pathology-

Quick Reply

Register Now

In order to be able to post messages on the USMLE Forums forums, you must first register.
Please enter your desired user name, your email address and other required details in the form below.
User Name:
Please enter a password for your user account. Note that passwords are case-sensitive.
Confirm Password:
Email Address
Please enter a valid email address for yourself.
Email Address:
Medical School
Choose "---" if you don't want to tell. AMG for US & Canadian medical schools. IMG for all other medical schools.
USMLE Steps History
What steps finished! Example: 1+CK+CS+3 = Passed Step 1, Step 2 CK, Step 2 CS, and Step 3.

Choose "---" if you don't want to tell.

Favorite USMLE Books
What USMLE books you really think are useful. Leave blank if you don't want to tell.
Where you live. Leave blank if you don't want to tell.


Human Verification

In order to verify that you are a human and not a spam bot, please enter the answer into the following box below based on the instructions contained in the graphic.

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Beta and Alpha Receptors effects on Insulin and Renin rasheed USMLE Step 1 Mnemonics 6 11-23-2015 02:37 AM
Beta Lactams Resistant To Beta Lactamases! anila USMLE Step 1 Mnemonics 0 12-17-2010 10:38 PM
Mnemonic RiRi to remember Alpha and Beta receptor effects on Insulin and Renin raheel_memon USMLE Step 1 Mnemonics 1 07-22-2010 04:17 PM
Differentiating Aldosterone Adenoma from Idiopathic Hyperaldosteronism rasheed USMLE Step 2 CK Bits & Pieces 0 05-06-2010 08:53 PM
Beta One Selective Beta Blockers rasheed USMLE Step 1 Mnemonics 3 11-26-2009 09:12 AM

RSS Feed
Find Us on Facebook
vBulletin Security provided by vBSecurity v2.2.2 (Pro) - vBulletin Mods & Addons Copyright © 2017 DragonByte Technologies Ltd.

USMLE® & other trade marks belong to their respective owners, read full disclaimer
USMLE Forums created under Creative Commons 3.0 License. (2009-2014)