The clinical significance of hemoglobinopathies in the Hamilton region: a twenty-year review
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Between 1970-1990, the Laboratory tested 38,391 specimens for hemoglobinopathies, of which 7,935 were positive. The major abnormalities detected were beta thalassemia trait (4,688), alpha thalassemia trait (1,248) and sickle cell trait (847). Clinically significant hemoglobinopathies detected were Hemoglobin H disease (100), sickle cell disease (67) and sickle cell Hemoglobin C disease (79). Hemoglobinopathies are therefore common in the Hamilton area as a reflection of the cultural diversity of area citizens. Of the 49 patients with thalassemia without documented iron deficiency, 8 (16%) received iron therapy for a variable period of time and 3 were investigated for gastrointestinal blood loss. Hemoglobin abnormalities cause or have the potential to cause clinical disease and they can, if not detected, result in unnecessary iron therapy or gastrointestinal investigation.
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