Haemoglobin Electrophoresis is a method of determining the type and size of haemoglobin molecules in a persons blood, by observing the rates of transit of these negatively-charged proteins in an electric field medium. It is used to diagnose so-called haemoglobinopathies, conditions with an unusual combination of Haemoglobin types which usually result in mild anaemia.
How the Test is Performed
Haemoglobin Electrophoresis is a blood test, and requires a few millilitres of blood from a vein.
The test itself uses a method of determining the type and size of haemoglobin molecules in the blood, by observing the rates of transit of these negatively-charged proteins in an electric field medium.
Medical Conditions and Symptoms
Haemoglobin Electrophoresis is usually performed in the setting of a microcytic anaemia – a low blood count where the red blood cells are also small. Possible causes of a microcytic anaemia include iron deficiency and Thalassaemia (or thalassaemia trait) – a condition in which the globin chains of the haemoglobin molecule are defective.
Anaemia causes tiredness, pale skin, and shortness of breath on exertion.
Test Results Explained
Haemoglobin Electrophoresis results quantify the proportions of different variants of haemoglobin found in an individual's blood cells. The normal adult haemoglobin is Haemoglobin A (HbA), but normal people also have a small amount of Fetal Haemoglobin (HbF). Electrophoresis can also detect abnormal haemoglobins such as Haemoglobin S (HbS) – which is responsible for the condition Sickle Cell Disease.
- Blood Test (venesection)
- Haemoglobin (Hb)
- Full Blood Count
- Iron Studies (Fe)
- Blood Group or Crossmatch
- Endoscopy of the Upper Gastrointestinal Tract (Upper GI Endoscopy)
Also Known As
- Hb Electrophoresis
- Thalassaemia screen