Although alpha thalassemia trait may be diagnosed in the neonate by the presence of hemoglobin Barts, no simple screeing test for this disorder is available. This study was performed to determine whether the mean corpucular volume (MCV) and mean corpuscular hemoglobin (MCH) could serve this purpose. Capillary blood samples from 200 full-term black infants, 1 to 3 days of age, were drawn for electronic determination of red cell indices and hemoglobin electrophorssis on cellulose aetate. Of the 200 infants, 9 had MCV's of ≤94 μ3 and MCH's of ≤29.5 μμg, and of these, 6 (67 per cent) had hemoglobin Barts. No infant with hemoglobin Barts had an index in the normal range. We conclude that alpha thalassemia may be easily detected through MSCV and MCH screening of newborn populations at risk. An MCV ≤94 μ3 and an MCH <-29.5 μμg in the neonate is abnormal and should be followed by hemoglobin electrophoresis.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health