Thalassemia is a very common blood disorder in Bangladesh. It is caused by a genetic mutation that results in defective hemoglobin production. The disease manifests as severe anemia in early childhood, usually between 1-3 years of age. The typical symptoms are pallor, jaundice, frequent infections, poor appetite, irritability, poor growth, and abdominal distension.
The treatment of thalassemia is regular blood transfusion at 2-4 week intervals to correct the anemia. A safe and sustainable supply of blood is needed to cater the thalassemia patients. Ideally, the patients need leuko-reduced (free of white blood cells) red blood cell. Alternatively, a bedside leukoreduction filter is used to reduce the white cells from blood. A significant number of patients contract transfusion-transmitted infection such as Hepatitis B and C.