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    Hemoglobin Electrophoresis

    Why It Is Done

    Hemoglobin electrophoresis is done to:

    • Find each type of hemoglobin in the blood. This can be used to diagnose certain types of anemia (such as thalassemia).
    • Check treatment for diseases that have abnormal types of hemoglobin in the blood.
    • Help couples find out how likely they are to have a child with certain forms of anemia that can be passed from a parent to a child (inherited).

    How To Prepare

    Tell your doctor if you are getting iron therapy for iron deficiency anemia.

    How It Is Done

    The health professional drawing blood will:

    • Wrap an elastic band around your upper arm to stop the flow of blood. This makes the veins below the band larger so it is easier to put a needle into the vein.
    • Clean the needle site with alcohol.
    • Put the needle into the vein. More than one needle stick may be needed.
    • Attach a tube to the needle to fill it with blood.
    • Remove the band from your arm when enough blood is collected.
    • Put a gauze pad or cotton ball over the needle site as the needle is removed.
    • Put pressure on the site and then put on a bandage.

    How It Feels

    The blood sample is taken from a vein in your arm. An elastic band is wrapped around your upper arm. It may feel tight. You may feel nothing at all from the needle, or you may feel a quick sting or pinch.

    Risks

    There is very little chance of a problem from having a blood sample taken from a vein.

    • You may get a small bruise at the site. You can lower the chance of bruising by keeping pressure on the site for several minutes.
    • In rare cases, the vein may become swollen after the blood sample is taken. This problem is called phlebitis. A warm compress can be used several times a day to treat this.
    • Ongoing bleeding can be a problem for people with bleeding disorders. Aspirin, warfarin (Coumadin), and other blood-thinning medicines can make bleeding more likely. If you have bleeding or clotting problems, or if you take blood-thinning medicine, tell your doctor before your blood sample is taken.

    WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

    Last Updated: September 09, 2014
    This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.

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