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A Journal on Obstetrics and Gynecology

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Minerva Ginecologica 2004 April;56(2):155-60


language: English

Haemoglobin E in pregnancy. A case report. Diagnosis, familiar study and counselling, follow up until delivery and new-born observation

Gessoni G., Bergamini L., Giacomini A., Valverde S., Armani M., Antico F., Trevisan S., Vettorato F., Sartori R.


Haemoglobin E is a ß chain variant quite common in Southeasern Asia. The case of a gravid Thai woman with a microcytic anaemia is reported. The diagnosis of homozygous haemoglobin E was suspected on the basis of ethnic considerations when analysis of her haemoglobin showed the absence of normal HbA1 and about 100% of a variant Hb with electrophoretic mobility with HbC and HbA2. Identification of the haemoglobin variant was performed by using an association of alkaline electrophoresis on agarose gel, acid electrophoresis on agarose gel, haemoglobin isoelectrofocusing, high performance liquid chromatography. A study of haemoglobin pattern in the partner, parents and siblings was also performed. Pregnancy continued without any problems until the 40th week when a caesarean section was performed due to a difficult labour with foetal distress. The haemoglobin pattern of the new-born was studied at birth and after 1 year; as expected, it was quite normal at birth and a heterozygous condition for HbE was observed after 1 year. HbE, in even heterozygous and homozygous states, gives a mild clinical picture but its association with other haemoglobinopathies, such as a double heterozygous state (i.e. HbE/ß Thalassaemia) gives rise to a severe transfusion dependent thalassaemia syndrome. It is the authors' opinion that only a strict interaction between obstetricians and pathologists is the possible correct answer to the new diagnostic question proposed by a rapidly evolving inter-ethnic society.

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