Unstable Hemoglobin Test
Unstable hemoglobin (Hb) is a rare, congenital defect caused by amino acid substitutions in the structure of Hb. It's called "unstable" because of the ease with which the Hb decomposes. The presence of unstable Hb may lead to the formation of small masses called Heinz bodies, which accumulate on red blood cell membranes. Although Heinz bodies are usually removed by the spleen or liver, they may cause mild to severe hemolysis. Unstable Hb is best detected by precipitation tests (heat stability or isopropanol solubility).
Procedure and posttest care
When no unstable Hb appears in the sample, the heat stability test result is negative; the isopropanol solubility test result is reported as stable.
A positive heat stability test result or unstable solubility test result, especially with hemolysis, strongly suggests the presence of unstable Hb.
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