High Performance Liquid Chromatography (HPLC) Screening among Filipinos with Suspected Thalassemia

  • Terence Diane F. Fabella
  • Catherine Lynn T. Silao
  • Maria Liza T. Naranjo
  • Carmencita D. Padilla
  • Ernesto DJ Yuson
Keywords: thalassemia, hemoglobinopathies, high performance liquid chromatography, Filipino, red cell indices


Introduction. Thalassemias and hemoglobinopathies are autosomal-recessive red blood cell disorders affecting
hemoglobin (Hb) quantity and/or quality. Clinical manifestations vary from clinically asymptomatic to transfusion dependent individuals. These disorders are global in scope and is prevalent in Southeast Asia hence screening in the Philippines is very crucial for its prevention and control.
Objective. Our retrospective study aimed to determine the frequency of thalassemias and hemoglobinopathies in patients referred to the Molecular Genetics Unit, Institute of Human Genetics, National Institutes of Health, University of the Philippines, Manila for High Performance Liquid Chromatography (HPLC) screening.
Methods. Blood samples from patients (n=622) sent by hematologists from different parts of the country from October 2008 to February 2015 were analyzed. Extracted whole blood samples from the subjects were anticoagulated with ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid (EDTA) and were analyzed using BIORAD VARIANT™ HPLC Testing System and VARIANT™ Beta Thalassemia Short (BTS) Program kit for the detection of abnormalities in hemoglobin. Interpretation of results were based on the submitted mean corpuscular volume (MCV), mean corpuscular hemoglobin (MCH) values, and Hb typing via HPLC of the patients.
Results. Approximately twenty-nine percent (29.10%, n=181) of subjects were presumptively identified with thalassemias and hemoglobinopathies by HPLC. Beta-thalassemia trait, Hb E trait, and beta-thalassemia/Hb E disease were detected in 65 (10.45 %), 14 (2.25 %), and 3 (0.48 %) subjects, respectively. While suspected alpha-thalassemia, presumably Hb H disease, was found in 99 (15.92 %) patients. Interestingly, seventy-two percent (72.11%, n=318) of the patients with normal Hb typing via HPLC have low MCV and MCH values.
Conclusion. Results of this study provide the spectrum and frequency of thalassemias and hemoglobinopathies in patients referred to our laboratory for HPLC analysis.


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