Hemoglobin is a protein that carries oxygen in the blood. Hemoglobin electrophoresis measures the levels of the different types of this protein in the blood.
Many different types of hemoglobin (Hb) exist. The most common ones are HbA, HbA2, HbF, HbS, HbC, HbH, and HbM. Healthy adults only have significant levels of only HbA and HbA2.
Some people may also have small amounts of HbF. This is the main type of hemoglobin in an unborn baby’s body. Certain diseases are associated with high HbF levels (when HbF is more than 2% of the total hemoglobin).
HbS is an abnormal form of hemoglobin associated with sickle cell anemia. In people with this condition, the red blood cells sometimes have a crescent or sickle shape. These cells easily break down or can block small blood vessels.
HbC is an abnormal form of hemoglobin associated with hemolytic anemia. The symptoms are much milder than they are in sickle cell anemia.
Other, less common, abnormal Hb molecules cause other types of anemia.
Significant levels of abnormal hemoglobins may indicate:
- Hemoglobin C disease
- Rare hemoglobinopathy
- Sickle cell anemia
- Inherited blood disorder in which the body makes an abnormal form of hemoglobin (thalassemia)
You may have false normal or abnormal results if you have had a blood transfusion within 12 weeks of this test.
- Sample of whole blood
- We perform the test daily