Beta thalassemia is caused by mutations in the beta chain of the hemoglobin molecule. There are two types of Beta Thalassemia: beta thalassemia major (Cooley’s anemia) - both (two) beta chain genes have deletions, causing the most severe type of beta thalassemia. Thalassemia major patients need frequent blood transfusions and may not survive a normal lifespan. During the first one to two years of life, they can be pale, fussy, have a poor appetite, and have many infections. Without treatment, the spleen, liver, and heart become enlarged, and bones can become thin and brittle. A major problem is the build up of iron in the heart and other organs, resulting in heart failure for some patients in their teens or early 20s. halassemia minor or thalassemia trait - one beta gene has a deletion, resulting in anemia. Thalassemia minor is further divided into: thalassemia minima - person has few or no symptoms. thalassemia intermedia - person has moderate to severe anemia.