We treated three children with renal failure and chronic iron overload with intraperitoneal deferoxamine therapy. Each child had an elevated serum ferritin level, a dense liver as measured by computerized tomography (Hounsfield Units) and one had dialysis related porphyria cutanea tarda. Deferoxamine therapy (10 to 17.5 mg/kg) was given in the overnight exchange for three to six months. Prior to therapy, iron was not detected in the dialysate; during the course of therapy, daily dialysate iron removal averaged 5652 μg, 2241 μg and 4028 μg in the three children. The serum ferritin level fell during the course of therapy in two children who were estimated to be in negative iron balance, and was unchanged in the third who was estimated to be in positive iron balance due to frequent transfusions. In 10 children with chronic renal failure, there was a linear correlation (r = 0.855; P < 0.01) between the serum ferritin and the liver density, suggesting that an increased serum ferritin correlates with hepatic iron content. Interestingly, in each of the three children who received deferoxamine therapy, the liver density increased during therapy regardless of the estimated iron balance and the change in the serum ferritin level. We conclude that intraperitoneal deferoxamine therapy results in substantial iron losses in peritoneal dialysate, can result in negative iron balance but, in this study, did not result in lower liver iron content as measured by density on computerized tomography scan.
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