Hemoglobin (Hb) electrophoresis is probably the most useful laboratory method for separating and measuring normal and some abnormal Hb. Through electrophoresis, different types of Hb are separated to form a series of distinctly pigmented bands in a medium (cellulose acetate or starch gel). Results are then compared with those of a normal sample.
Hb A, A2, S, C, and F are routinely checked, but the laboratory may change the medium or its pH to expand the range of this test.
Procedure and posttest care
In adults, Hb A accounts for 95% to 98% of all Hb; HbA2 1.5% to 3%; and HF, less than 2%. In neonates, Hb F normally accounts for half the total. Hb S and Hb C are normally absent.
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