Sickle cell test results


Q: I am blessed with a new baby (boy) I asked the doctor if my baby has a sickle cell He said that the test after the delivery immediately showed that the baby is a carrier (not disease) withe sickle cell. He mentioned also that the test will be repeated after 6 months? My question is how accurate the test after the delivery immediately. Please note that the test showed that the baby is affected with P6DG anemia also. Please advise as I am very worried about my bay.


A:   Sickle cell trait or carrier is a benign carrier condition, usually with none of the symptoms of sickle cell anemia. It is generally only a laboratory diagnosis. I understand that you are concerned for the health of your son. The gene for sickle cell anemia is widespread throughout the world. There are approximately 2.5 million people in the United States and 300 million in the world who have this trait.
The diagnosis of sickle cell trait, as distinguished from sickle cell disease, is made exclusively via hemoglobin electrophoresis or high pressure liquid chromatography techniques. It may not be possible to distinguish the hemoglobin patterns in newborns, thus, DNA-based testing or repeat hemoglobin testing at age three to six months may be recommended.
I would suggest that you consult a newborn screening program or a genetic counsellor for more information. Your son has a benign hereditary condition and not a disease. Serious complication are rare with sickle cell carriers. Possible complications may include hematuria (blood in urine), splenic infarction and risk of sudden death after strenuous physical activity and athletic participation. I hope the information helps, take care.

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