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Open Access Iron Does Not Cause Arrhythmias in the Guinea Pig Model of Transfusional Iron Overload

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Cardiac events, including heart failure and arrhythmias, are the leading cause of death in patients with  thalassemia. Although cardiac arrhythmias in humans are believed to result from iron overload, excluding confounding factors in the human population is difficult. The goal of the current study was to determine whether cardiac arrhythmias occurred in the guinea pig model of secondary iron overload. Electrocardiograms were recorded by using surgically implanted telemetry devices in guinea pigs loaded intraperitoneally with iron dextran (test animals) or dextran alone (controls). Loading occurred over approximately 6 wk. Electrocardiograms were recorded for 1 wk prior to loading, throughout loading, and for approximately 4 wk after loading was complete. Cardiac and liver iron concentrations were significantly increased in the iron-loaded animals compared with controls and were in the range of those reported for humans with thalassemia. Arrhythmias were rare in both iron-loaded and control guinea pigs. No life-threatening arrhythmias were detected in either group. These data suggest that iron alone may be insufficient to cause cardiac arrhythmias in the iron-loaded guinea pig model and that arrhythmias detected in human patients with iron overload may be the result of a complex interplay of factors.

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Document Type: Miscellaneous

Publication date: 01 August 2007

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  • Comparative Medicine (CM), an international journal of comparative and experimental medicine, is the leading English-language publication in the field and is ranked by the Science Citation Index in the upper third of all scientific journals. The mission of CM is to disseminate high-quality, peer-reviewed information that expands biomedical knowledge and promotes human and animal health through the study of laboratory animal disease, animal models of disease, and basic biologic mechanisms related to disease in people and animals.

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