Hemoglobin electrophoresis is a blood test used to diagnose hemoglobinopathies, or hemoglobin abnormalities. Firstly, what exactly is hemoglobin? So hemoglobin is a complicated protein found in red blood cells. Its function is to transport and deliver oxygen throughout the body. Hemoglobin takes oxygen from the lungs through the bloodstream and releases it at the appropriate time so that the tissues of the body may use it appropriately. There are various hereditary hemoglobinopathies that compromise hemoglobin’s ability to function correctly. This was the hemoglobin information. Now tell us more about the Hemoglobin Electrophoresis Test.
What is Hemoglobin Electrophoresis?
Hemoglobin electrophoresis is a blood test that determines the many types of proteins found in red blood cells. This examination is also known as a Hemoglobin Assessment or a Sickle Cell Screen. Reasons for performing this test include:
- If you are experiencing symptoms of a blood problem. (A blood disorder symptom)
- You have a high risk of having a blood condition. (High Blood Disorder Risk)
- If your child suffers from a blood issue. (Childhood Blood Disorder)
- If any additional blood tests show an abnormal result. (Another test yielded an abnormal result)
- You have sickle cell anemia and have received a transfusion. In this scenario, the test can determine whether you are receiving adequate hemoglobin from your fresh blood.
Types of Hemoglobin
There are several forms of hemoglobin in our bodies, including:
- Hemoglobin F is also known as foetal hemoglobin. This hemoglobin is found in newborn newborns and developing foetuses. Nevertheless, after birth, it transforms into hemoglobin A.
- Hemoglobin A is also known as adult hemoglobin. This is the most prevalent hemoglobin type. It is seen in both healthy children and adults.
- Hemoglobin C, D, E, M, and S: These are rare kinds of defective hemoglobins caused by genetic abnormalities.
Importance of Hemoglobin Electrophoresis Test
Hemoglobin electrophoresis determines hemoglobin levels and finds aberrant hemoglobin types. It is primarily used to detect anemia, sickle cell disease, and other hemoglobin abnormalities. If you have any of the following signs of hemoglobin problem, you should have this test performed:
- Pale Skin
- Severe Pain
- Growth Problems in Children
Process of Hemoglobin Electrophoresis Test
The Hemoglobin Electrophoresis test is a simple and effective method for determining hemoglobin levels. This test is carried out as follows:
Before The Test
The type of hemoglobin in your blood is unrelated to time or what you eat or drink. As a result, there are no particular procedures to follow prior to the Hemoglobin Electrophoresis test. A blood sample from the patient can be taken at any time of the day. You can do this at any hospital, lab, or doctor’s office.
During The Test
During the Hemoglobin Electrophoresis test, all you have to do is supply a blood sample. The doctor or technician will draw blood from your vein for this purpose. To begin, the area from where the blood will be collected will be properly cleaned with an alcohol swab. After that, a blood sample will be taken by inserting a needle into a vein, and you will be able to go home.
After The Test
There are no complications as a result of this examination. However, there is a chance of bleeding, bruising, edema, or infection in rare circumstances. Nonetheless, this is quite rare. If a problem arises, a doctor should be consulted as soon as possible. A doctor should be consulted if there is swelling or infection.
Results of Hemoglobin Electrophoresis Test Results
The results of this test are usually available within a few days to a week. If there is an issue with the test report, the doctor may prescribe more tests to diagnose the issue. Know what the outcome of this test is:
Normal Hemoglobin Values
In adults, the normal value of hemoglobin molecules is given as a percentage. Its percentage value in adults should be as follows, based on the kind of hemoglobin:
- Hemoglobin A: 95%–98%
- Hemoglobin A2: 2%–3%
- Hemoglobin F: 0.8%–2%
- Hemoglobins S, C, D, E, and others: 0%
Children have greater hemoglobin F levels, followed by hemoglobin A and A2.
- Hemoglobin F in the newborn: 50%–80%
- Hemoglobin F in a child up to 6 months: 8%
- Hemoglobin F in children over 6 months: 1%–2%
The typical value range may differ slightly from one laboratory to the next. Other laboratories may employ different metrics or test different substances. Consult your doctor about the significance of your specific test results.
Abnormal Hemoglobin Values
If the hemoglobin electrophoresis test shows that you have abnormal hemoglobin, you will need to be evaluated further. To determine the cause of abnormal hemoglobin, your doctor will need to evaluate additional aspects such as family history, CBC findings (particularly hemoglobin and mean corpuscular volume), the presence of a red tint in the blood, and the results of serum iron investigations.
Abnormal Hemoglobin can also be a Symptom of other Conditions Which are as Follows:
Sickle Cell Disease
Blood cells are typically flat, spherical, and slightly thinner at the edges than at the middle. It appears to be a spherical chunk crushed from the center. They are thin and flexible enough to pass through tiny blood arteries. With sickle cell disease, however, their shape can resemble a coin or a quarter moon. Because they are not flexible, they might become caught in small blood arteries, causing issues with blood flow. When our organs and muscles do not receive enough oxygen in this scenario, it might produce pain.
Hemoglobin C Disease
This might result in mild anemia as well as an enlarged spleen. But, most of the time this is not a problem. Unless you have additional issues with your hemoglobin.
When there is a thalassemia problem, the body is unable to produce enough red blood cells and there is insufficient hemoglobin in the body. Depending on the type of hemoglobin, thalassemia can produce mild, moderate, or severe anemia. This condition can be handed on from parents to children via genes.
Risks of Hemoglobin Electrophoresis
The hazards associated with this test are minimal. Since only a blood sample is required in this case. The size of veins and arteries, however, varies from person to person. As a result, taking a blood sample can be simple for some and challenging for others. The following are the linked risks:
- Infection at Puncture Site
After bleeding, the vein may enlarge in rare situations. Phlebitis is the medical term for this illness. It can be treated multiple times per day with a warm compress. If you have a bleeding disorder or are taking blood-thinning drugs such as aspirin, you may experience persistent bleeding.
This test, according to the University of California, is perfectly safe. This test causes no problems for the participants. However, this test may cause severe bleeding, dizziness, fainting, hematoma, or infection in certain patients. But, its possibilities are slim. Hematoma is a disorder in which blood collects beneath the skin. If you experience any problems as a result of this test, get medical attention immediately.