Sickle Cell Test
A sickle cell test is a blood test done to check for Reference sickle cell trait Opens New Window or Reference sickle cell disease Opens New Window. Sickle cell disease is an inherited blood disease that causes red blood cells to be deformed (Reference sickle-shaped Opens New Window Reference Opens New Window). The red blood cells deform because they contain an abnormal type of Reference hemoglobin Opens New Window, called hemoglobin S, instead of the normal hemoglobin, called hemoglobin A.
Sickled blood cells are destroyed by the body faster than normal blood cells. This causes Reference anemia Opens New Window. Also, sickled cells can get trapped in blood vessels and reduce or block blood flow. This can damage organs, muscles, and bones and may lead to life-threatening conditions.
The best way to check for sickle cell trait or sickle cell disease is to look at the blood using a method called high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC). This test identifies which type of hemoglobin is present. To confirm the results of HPLC, a Reference genetic test may be done.
Sickle cell disease is an Reference autosomal recessive disease. This means that to have the disease, a person must inherit a Reference gene Opens New Window for the disease from both parents. Each person inherits two genes (one from each parent). As a result, a person may have:
- Two genes that make normal hemoglobin (hemoglobin A). These people have normal red blood cells, unless they have some other disease.
- One gene that makes hemoglobin A and one that makes hemoglobin S. These people carry the sickle cell trait (and are called "a Reference carrier Opens New Window"), but they do not have sickle cell disease. Sickle cell trait is usually a harmless condition.
- Two genes that make hemoglobin S. These people have sickle cell disease. Both parents either carry the sickle cell trait or have the disease. Sickled red blood cells often cause recurring health problems called Reference sickle cell crises Opens New Window.
- One gene that makes hemoglobin S and one that makes some other abnormal type of hemoglobin. Depending on the other type of abnormal hemoglobin, these people may have mild or severe Reference sickle cell disorder.
The Reference United States Preventive Services Task Force Opens New Window recommends that all newborns be tested for sickle cell disease.Reference 1
|By:||Reference Healthwise Staff||Last Revised: Reference October 1, 2012|
|Medical Review:||Reference E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine
Reference Martin Steinberg, MD - Hematology