Sickle Cell Test
The sickle cell test, also known as the hemoglobin (Hb) S test, is used to detect sickle cells, which are severely deformed, rigid erythrocytes that may slow blood flow. Sickle cell trait (characterized by heterozygous Hb S) is found almost exclusively in people of African ancestry. It's present in nearly 8% of African Americans.
Although this test is useful as a rapid screening procedure, it may produce erroneous results. Hb electrophoresis should be performed to confirm the diagnosis if sickle cell disease is strongly suspected.
Procedure and posttest care
Results of this test are reported as positive or negative. A negative result suggests the absence of Hb S.
A positive result may indicate the presence of sickle cells, but Hb electrophoresis is needed to further diagnose the sickling tendency of cells. Rarely, in the absence of Hb S, other abnormal Hb may cause sickling.
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