Sickle cell test

What is sickle cell test

Sickle cell test is a type of laboratory test that is used to detect the presence of sickle cell trait or sickle cell disease. Sickle cell disease is an inherited condition where red blood cells are shaped like crescents or sickles, rather than round. This can cause health problems and pain.

Types of Sickle Cell Tests

  • Hemoglobin electrophoresis
  • Hemoglobin solubility test
  • Sickle cell preparation
  • Sickle cell PCR assay

Preparation for Sickle Cell Test

Depending on the type of sickle cell test you are having, your doctor will discuss with you the preparation for the procedure. Usually, no special preparation is required for a sickle cell test.

Procedure for Sickle Cell Test

For the procedure, a sample of your blood will be taken. This can be done either as a finger prick or via venipuncture. The sample will then be sent to the lab, where specific tests are used to detect any mutations in the hemoglobin gene, or the presence of the sickle mutation.

Risks of Sickle Cell Test

The risks of the sickle cell test are minimal. However, there is a small risk associated with the collection of the blood sample, such as soreness at the puncture site, mild bruising, or infection. In rare cases a fainting spell or brief dizziness could occur.

Why Is a Sickle Cell Test Done?

A sickle cell test is done to determine whether a person has the sickle cell trait, which is an inherited condition in which a person has one normal hemoglobin and one defective hemoglobin making them a carrier of the disease. If a person is a carrier of the sickle cell trait, it means they may pass the gene to their children. It is important to know this information so that people can take the necessary precautions to prevent them from passing the gene to their children.

When Is a Sickle Cell Test Done?

Sickle cell tests are usually ordered when a doctor suspects a person may have the sickle cell trait or disease, or when it is necessary to determine the risk that a person may pass the gene to their children. It is also routinely done for newborn babies to screen for the presence of the sickle cell trait.