Hemoglobin electrophoresis

Hemoglobin electrophoresis is a blood test to measure the levels of the different types of hemoglobin potein in the blood. Many different types of hemoglobin (Hb) exist. The most common ones are HbA, HbA2, HbE, HbF, HbS, HbC, HbH, and HbM. Healthy adults only have significant levels of only HbA and HbA2. In the lab, the technician places the blood sample on special paper and applies an electric current. The hemoglobins move on the paper and form bands that show the amount of each type of hemoglobin.

Normal Results
In adults, these are normal percentages of different hemoglobin molecules:

  • HbA: 95% to 98% (0.95 to 0.98)
  • HbA2: 2% to 3% (0.02 to 0.03)
  • HbE: Absent
  • HbF: 0.8% to 2% (0.008 to 0.02)
  • HbS: Absent
  • HbC: Absent

In infants and children, these are normal percentage of HbF molecules:

  • HbF (newborn): 50% to 80% (0.5 to 0.8)
  • HbF (6 months): 8%
  • HbF (over 6 months): 1% to 2%

Normal value ranges may vary slightly among different laboratories. Some labs use different measurements or may test different samples. Talk to your provider about the meaning of your specific test results.

 
What Abnormal Results Mean
 
Significant levels of abnormal hemoglobins may indicate:

  • Hemoglobin C disease
  • Rare hemoglobinopathy
  • Sickle cell anemia
  • Inherited blood disorder in which the body makes an abnormal form of hemoglobin (thalassemia)

You may have false normal or abnormal results if you have had a blood transfusion within 12 weeks of this test.

* The Content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.