Sickle Cell Screen

Alternate Names

  • Sickle Cell Preparation
  • Sickledex
  • HGB (Hemoglobin) S Test

Sickle cell anemia is an inherited disease of an enzyme (Hgb S) deficiency that results in the formation of stiff and oddly shaped RBCs after oxygen is released from the hemoglobin. These malformed RBCs are not able to pass through tiny blood vessels, resulting in an increase in clotting which leads to pain, and injury to organs and tissues. Three tests make up the Sickle Cell Screen. Sickle Cell Prep takes a blood sample; a small amount of blood is smeared onto a glass slide and a chemical is added to remove oxygen from the hemoglobin. The blood is then examined with a microscope for the presence of abnormal sickle-shaped RBCs. The most commonly used test is the Sickledex test, which measures the clarity of the blood sample. The test is positive when the blood sample is cloudy. DNA testing is done to identify the gene mutation, and can be done as part of prenatal testing to determine if the parents are carriers of the gene, or when a sibling has Sickle Cell anemia. There are a number of factors that can cause false positive or negative test results.

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