Bone Biopsy For Sickle Cell Disease

Bone Biopsy For Sickle Cell Disease

Sickle cell disease or sickle cell anemia is a blood disorder where in the red blood cell has an abnormal sickle shape. This happens due to a mutation in hemoglobin gene. This is a life long disorder and it shortens life expectancy with an average life expectancy of 42 years for males and 48 years for females.

This disease is known to occur more commonly in people from tropical and sub-tropical regions where malaria was common. Those with one or two alleles of sickle cell disease are found to be more resistant to malaria. The prevalence of this disease in United States is 1 in 5000 and it occurs mostly in African Americans.

Hemoglobin is the main substance in red blood cells. It carries oxygen from the lung to all parts of the body. Normal red blood cell contains hemoglobin A. Hemoglobin S and hemoglobin C are abnormal types of hemoglobin. Normal blood cells are soft and round and pass through tiny blood vessels and live for about 120 days. Red blood cells with hemoglobin S live for a shorter period and it is normally about 16 days. They become stiff and are distorted in shape and have difficulty in passing through small blood vessels. Tissues that don’t receive normal blood supply get damaged. This causes complications in sickle cell disease.

A blood test followed by hemoglobin electrophoresis can be used to determine the type of hemoglobin in the blood. When an electric charge is passed through a solution of hemoglobin it shows different types of hemoglobin moving at different speeds. The type of hemoglobin can be identified.

Bone marrow aspiration is a procedure which removes a small amount of bone marrow fluid and cells through a needle put into a bone. The bone marrow fluid and cells can be checked for problems associated with blood cells made in the bone marrow. However this test may not be required as hemoglobin electrophoresis is quite adequate for diagnosis of sickle cell disease.

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Bone Biopsy For Sickle Cell Disease