Proportion of Hypogonadism in Transfusion-Dependent Thalassemia Patients and Its Contributing Factors

Dian Anindita Lubis, Imam Subekti, Em Yunir, Cosphiadi Irawan, Andon Hestiantoro, Silvia Werdhy Lestari, Aria Kekalih, Merci Monica Br Pasaribu, Santi Syafril

Abstract


Background: Beta thalassemia is a lifelong disease involving malformed red blood cells (RBC). One of the disease’s complications is hypogonadism, in which adults tend to exhibit regression in sexual characteristics, experience sexual dysfunction, and therefore have a lower quality of life. Around 3-10% of the Indonesian population carries the beta-thalassemia gene. This study aimed to see the proportions of hypogonadism in transfusion-dependent thalassemia patients and its contributing factors. Methods: This is a cross-sectional study involving 60 male patients admitted to three Indonesian general hospitals from July 2022 to July 2023. All patients were diagnosed with beta-thalassemia via chromatography hemoglobin analysis. We performed a single-time physical examination and laboratory examinations to determine FSH, LH, and free testosterone levels. The correlation between Hb and sexual hormone levels was analyzed using Spearman’s rank correlation coefficient. ROC curve analysis was conducted afterward. All statistical analysis was done in SPSS version 29. Results: 31 out of 60 thalassemia patients had hypogonadism. Pre-transfusion Hb count was found to be linearly correlated with FSH (r = 0.388, p = 0.049), LH (r = 0.338, p = 0.008), and free testosterone (r = 0.255, p = 0.049). ROC analysis indicated that pre-transfusion Hb was viable as a predictor for hypogonadism (AUC = 0.655, 65.5% sensitivity, 67.7% specificity). Conclusion: We confirmed the role of pre-transfusion Hb count as a potential predictor for hypogonadism due to the tissue hypoxia mechanism and transfusion-related iron overload in TDT patients. Decreased Hb is linearly correlated with FSH, LH, and testosterone levels. Decreased Hb also downregulates these factors.


Keywords


Pre-transfusion hemoglobin; hypogonadism; transfusion-dependent thalassemia

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