A reliable screening protocol for thalassemia and hemoglobinopathies in pregnancy: an alternative approach to electronic blood cell counting

American Journal of Clinical Pathology
Kanokwan SanchaisuriyaFrank P Schelp


Primary screening for thalassemia and hemoglobinopathies usually involves an accurate blood count using an expensive electronic blood cell counter A cheaper alternative method was tested by using a modified osmotic fragility (OF) test and a modified dichlorophenolindophenol (DCIP) test. Altogether 423 pregnant Thai women participated in this project. Hemoglobin patterns and globin genotypes were determined using an automated high-performance liquid chromatography analyzer and polymerase chain reaction analysis of alpha- and beta-globin genes. Among the 423 subjects, 264 (62.4%) carried thalassemia genes. The combined OF and DCIP tests detected all pregnant carriers of the 3 clinically important thalassemias, ie, alpha0-thalassemia, beta-thalassemia, and hemoglobin E with a sensitivity of 100.0%, specificity of 87.1%, positive predictive value of 84.5%, and negative predictive value of 100.0%, which show more effectiveness than these values for the standard method based on RBC counts. A combination of modified OF and DCIP tests should prove useful and applicable to prenatal screening programs for thalassemia and hemoglobinopathies in communities with limited facilities and economic resources.


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Related Concepts

Complete Blood Count
Electronics, Medical
Mean Corpuscular Hemoglobin Concentration Determination
Osmotic Fragility Test
Pregnancy Complications, Hematologic

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