Dr. Jane D Skelton, MD
Specialty: HematologyThe Center for Hematology Oncology
701 NW 13th
Boca Raton, FL 33486
- AvMed Health Plan
- BC/BS of Florida/Health Options
- CIGNA HealthCare
- Humana Health Plan
- United Healthcare
- Boca Raton Community Hospital
- Delray Medical Center
- Pinecrest Rehabilitation Hospital
What is a hemoglobin electrophoresis test?
A hemoglobin electrophoresis test is a blood test done to check the different types of hemoglobin in the blood. Hemoglobin is the substance in red blood cells that carries oxygen. See a picture of hemoglobin.
The most common types of normal hemoglobin are:
- Hemoglobin A. This is the most common type of hemoglobin found normally in adults. Some diseases, such as severe forms of thalassemia, may cause hemoglobin A levels to be low and hemoglobin F levels to be high.
- Hemoglobin A2. This is a normal type of hemoglobin found in small amounts in adults.
There are more than 350 types of abnormal hemoglobin.
The most common are:
- Hemoglobin S. This type of hemoglobin is present in sickle cell disease.
- Hemoglobin C. This type of hemoglobin does not carry oxygen well.
- Hemoglobin E. This type of hemoglobin is found in people of Southeast Asian descent.
- Hemoglobin D. This type of hemoglobin is present in some sickle cell disorders.
Hemoglobin S and hemoglobin C are the most common types of abnormal hemoglobin that may be found by an electrophoresis test.
Electrophoresis uses an electrical current to separate normal and abnormal types of hemoglobin in the blood. Hemoglobin types have different electrical charges and move at different speeds. The amount of each hemoglobin type in the current is measured.
An abnormal amount of normal hemoglobin or an abnormal type of hemoglobin in the blood may mean that a disease is present. Abnormal hemoglobin types may be present without any other symptoms, may cause mild diseases that do not have symptoms or cause diseases that can be life-threatening. For example, hemoglobin S is found in sickle cell disease, which is a serious abnormality of the blood and causes serious problems.© Healthwise, Incorporated.
Why would an individual need a white blood cell transfusion?
American Red Cross answered
White blood cells help fight infection. Individuals with a low white blood cell count, who are at risk for serious infections, may benefit from this type of transfusion. Those individuals who are unresponsive to antibiotic therapy may also benefit from this type of transfusion.
How is a hemoglobin electrophoresis test performed?
The health professional drawing blood will:
© Healthwise, Incorporated.
See all Blood Basics questions
- Wrap an elastic band around your upper arm to stop the flow of blood. This makes the veins below the band larger so it is easier to put a needle into the vein.
- Clean the needle site with alcohol.
- Put the needle into the vein. More than one needle stick may be needed.
- Attach a tube to the needle to fill it with blood.
- Remove the band from your arm when enough blood is collected.
- Put a gauze pad or cotton ball over the needle site as the needle is removed.
- Put pressure to the site and then a bandage.