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Hemoglobin (Hb), Fetal, Quantitative
- Fetal Hemoglobin
- Hb F
- Hemoglobin F Quantitation
Expected Turnaround Time
2 - 5 days
Turnaround time is defined as the usual number of days from the date of pickup of a specimen for testing to when the result is released to the ordering provider. In some cases, additional time should be allowed for additional confirmatory or additional reflex tests. Testing schedules may vary.
Lavender-top (EDTA) tube
Refrigerate at 2°C to 8°C.
Fasting or fluid restriction is not necessary.
Causes for Rejection
Evaluate hemoglobinopathies, hemolytic anemia; diagnose hereditary persistence of fetal hemoglobin; diagnose thalassemia; evaluate sickling hemoglobins
High-pressure liquid chromatography (HPLC)
7 mo to 1 y
0.1% to 6.8%
0.0% to 2.0%
Fetal hemoglobin is formed of two α-chains and two γ-chains. It is the major hemoglobin during fetal life. Hb F levels decrease after birth by about 3% to 4% per week. In two to three weeks, fetal hemoglobin is about 65%. By six months of age, fetal hemoglobin is <2% of the total hemoglobin. See graph. The oxygen dissociation curve of Hb F is shifted to the left as compared with normal Hb A. This may be due to decreased binding of 2,3-DPG by Hb F (γ-chains). This facilitates placental oxygen transfer. With erythroblastosis fetalis and anoxic states of the newborn; however, Hb F is proportionally lower than in a normal newborn. Some 15 inherited abnormalities of γ-chain structure have been described1 but most are without clinical significance (fetal Hb normally forms <2% of total hemoglobin). An exception is Hb F Poole, which has been reported as a cause of hemolytic disease of the newborn.2
Hb F Value (%)
Aplastic anemia (both congenital and acquired)
Congenital nonspherocytic hemolytic anemia
Anemia of chronic infection
Anemia of blood loss
Paroxysmal nocturnal hemoglobinuria
Homozygous Hb S disease
Hb Lepore trait
Hb Kenya trait
Hb H disease
Hereditary persistence of fetal hemoglobin (HPFH)
In the adult, hereditary persistence of fetal hemoglobin (HPFH) of multiple varieties is associated with varying elevations of Hb F. The homozygous form of HPFH is found only in black individuals. In the heterozygous state, the Hb F level is 15% to 35% in the black type, and 5% to 20% in the Greek type. Homozygous β-thalassemia is associated with Hb F levels <10% to >90%. About 50% of heterozygotes for β-thalassemia have elevated levels around 2%, rarely >5%. The remainder have normal Hb F. Heterozygous S/β-thalassemia may have Hb F in the 5% to 20% range. With homozygous Hb S disease, the level of Hb F varies from 0% to 20%.3 Other conditions associated with elevated Hb F include various anemias: spherocytosis, Fanconi, acquired aplastic, hemolytic hypoplastics, megaloblastic, myelophthisic, and untreated pernicious anemia; all types of leukemia (especially erythroleukemia and juvenile chronic myelogenous leukemia), multiple myeloma and lymphomas, metastatic disease of the bone marrow; pregnancy; miscellaneous disorders reported include infants small for gestational age, infants with chronic intrauterine anoxia with developmental anomalies; during anticonvulsant drug therapy; diabetes; hyper- and hypothyroidism; and macroglobulin. Elevation of Hb F should, then, raise the question of possible underlying disease.
|Order Code||Order Code Name||Order Loinc||Result Code||Result Code Name||UofM||Result LOINC|
|120900||Hgb, Fetal, Quant||4576-5||121706||Hgb F||%||4576-5|