Role of RBC Indices in Screening of Thalassaemia and other Haemoglobinopathies in Children

Salma Sadiya1, WA Khan2, Bilquis Banu3, Nilufa Akhter4, Golam Sarwardi5, Babu Mia6


Thalassaemia and haemoglobinopathies are common genetic disorders
in Bangladesh. There are expensive tests to diagnose thalassaemia and
haemoglobinopathies which are not affordable by majority of our patients. As
cellcounter is now widely available this study was undertaken to see the role of RBC
indices in suggesting thalassaemia and advising further confirmatory tests like High
Performance Liquid Chromatography (HPLC) or haemoglobin electrophoresis.
Objective: To observe values of RBC indices as tools for screening of thalassaemia
and haemoglobinopathies.
Methodology: The retrospective study was carried out in Dhaka Shishu Hospital
from November 2011 to November 2013. From the register, 555 subjects were taken
as the study population. The study population were diagnosed as Beta thalassaemia
major, Haemoglobin E beta thalassaemia, beta thalassaemia trait, haemoglobin E
trait, haemoglobin E disease and normal haemoglobin status by HPLC. Their RBC
indices were also taken from the register. Data were analyzed by SPSS (version
11.5). Mean values of RBC indices were expressed in different age groups against the
diagnosis. Independent sample ‘t’ test was done to show the difference of mean values
of RBC indices between the Normal haemoglobin status and thalassaemia or
Result: Mean values of RDW was markedly raised in both beta thalassaemia major
and haemoglobin E beta thalassaemia with low mean values of RBC count, MCV and
MCH. Mean values of RBC count were significantly high in both beta thalassaemia
trait and haemoglobin E trait when compared with control, though mean values of
MCV and MCH were low in these groups but not statistically significant when compared
with the control.
Conclusion: Simple observation of RBC indices can be utilized to screen thalassaemia
and haemaglobinopathies. HPLC should be advised for confirmation.
Key words: RBC indices, Thalassaemia, haemoglobinopathies, HPLC


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