Imperial Collage Healthcare

Unstable haemoglobin screen


Test Background
These procedures are undertaken to investigate the cause of haemolysis when an unstable haemoglobin variant is suspected. Such variants are generally not detected by standard electrophoretic procedures. The term unstable haemoglobin is usually applied to abnormal haemoglobins that are associated with major instability and will precipitate to give inclusion bodies in the erythrocyte. The diagnosis of unstable haemoglobins is dependent on the use of stability tests, in addition to electrophoresis techniques, as only a proportion of haemoglobin mutations will cause an electrophoretic change. The most common unstable haemoglobin is Haemoglobin Köln.


Clinical Indications

  • Performed following a haemaglobinopathy screen to confirm the presence of suspected haemoglobin variants.
  • Requested by consultant haematologists only.


Sample Required
4 mL EDTA (lavender top)


Sample Volume
1 mL


Turnaround Time
3-5 days


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