How Sickle Cell Status is Checked

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At a point, one may wonder how medical laboratory scientists are able to check for the sickling status of people. Let me break the process down for easy understanding.

The function of haemoglobin is actually to hold on to oxygen and transport it to tissues and organs. When it’s holding on to the oxygen, its red blood cell shape is normal. But when it deposits the oxygen, and the haemoglobin is an abnormal type (like Hb SS or Hb SC), it assumes the shape of a sickle. That’s why it’s called sickle cell. However, normal haemoglobin types remain its intact shape.

Read: Simple Breakdown of Sickle Cell

So that’s the idea used in the test. The blood sample of the person is taken, and just a drop is mixed with a chemical/reagent known as 2% Sodium Metabisulphite. At this point, the cells in the drop of blood are likely to be of intact shape. The function of the reagent is to ‘force’ the haemoglobin to release its oxygen, so indeed if the red blood cells of the person is of the sickling type it’ll assume the sickle shape.

After mixing the blood drop and reagent, the medical laboratory scientist allows the reaction to take place for about 30 to 45 minutes. He or she then observes it under a microscope, and concludes whether the person is sickling positive or negative.

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So that’s basically it. Get to know your sickling status. Kindly call +233540666781

This article was written by Joseph Ofori, a professional Medical Laboratory Scientist.

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