RBCs contain different types of haemoglobin, such as haemoglobin A, A2 and haemoglobin F (these are normal variants of haemoglobin); and haemoglobin C, D, E, M and S (these are abnormal types of haemoglobin). In an electrophoresis procedure, different types of normal and abnormal haemoglobin are separated by using an electric current. A haemoglobin electrophoresis test checks the different types of haemoglobin in the blood.
Why is the test ordered?
The test may be performed to detect each haemoglobin type, which is useful in diagnosing certain types of anaemia including thalassemia. The test is helpful in assessing the likelihood of a child getting anaemia which could be passed to the child from the parents (inherited). It may also be ordered to monitor the treatment of diseases with abnormal types of haemoglobin.
When is the test recommended?
A physician orders the test if a child has a family history of abnormal haemoglobin and the child’s anaemia is not due to iron deficiency or any other cause recognisable. The test may also be useful as a new-born screening to ensure that children with abnormal haemoglobin (Sickle cell anaemia) be screened, diagnosed, monitored and treated in time to prevent future complications.
How is the sample collected?
A blood sample is collected from a vein in the arm.
How to prepare for the test?
It is better to inform to doctor if one is being treated for iron deficiency anaemia.