This test is used as an initial screening test to check for sickle cell anemia and the presence of pathological hemoglobin S.
Sickle cell anemia is a hereditary disease characterized by chronic hemolytic anemia and painful episodes of "sickle cell crises" which usually require high doses of painkillers. Patients with sickle cell anemia are at higher risk of mortality and morbidity. Sickle cell anemia causes painful seizures, hemolytic anemia, spleen dysfunction, and infections. The sickle cell test is an initial screening test used to demonstrate the presence of hemoglobin S, which causes red blood cells to take on the sickle or crescent moon shape under reduced oxygen conditions. The test is positive in homozygous or heterozygous sickle cell anemia or in a combination of other hemoglobin S abnormalities.
Patients with sickle cell disease should avoid situations where reduced oxygen is experienced, such as high altitudes, intense activity, extreme cold, and non-pressurized aircraft travel.
If the hemoglobin S concentration is less than 25%, the erythrocytes will not become sickle cells. This test cannot reliably distinguish homozygous from heterozygous sickle cell anemia.
False-positive results of the sickle cell test can be caused by polycythemia, hemoglobin abnormalities, or high blood protein levels (such as in systemic lupus erythematosus and multiple myeloma).
False-negative results can be caused by anemia, normal hemoglobin transfusion within the past 4 months, treatment with medications such as phenothiazine, concomitant iron deficiency or thalassemia, elevated hemoglobin F levels, and in infants.
Laboratory test results are the most important parameter for the diagnosis and monitoring of all pathological conditions. 70%-80% of diagnostic decisions are based on laboratory tests. The correct interpretation of laboratory results allows a doctor to distinguish "healthy" from "diseased".
Laboratory test results should not be interpreted from the numerical result of a single analysis. Test results should be interpreted in relation to each individual case and family history, clinical findings, and the results of other laboratory tests and information. Your personal physician should explain the importance of your test results.
At Diagnostiki Athinon we answer any questions you may have about the test you perform in our laboratory and we contact your doctor to get the best possible medical care.