Test Detail
Interpreting Results

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Written by
Dr. Betina Chandolia
BDS, MDS - Oral Pathology and Microbiology
Reviewed by
Dr. Ashish Ranjan
MBBS, MD (Pharmacology)
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Hemoglobin HPLC/ Electrophoresis

You need to provide
This test is for
Male, Female
Test Preparation
  1. No special preparation required


What is HPLC?

Hemoglobin (Hb) electrophoresis by HPLC is used to identify the different types of hemoglobin present in the blood. Hemoglobin is a protein present inside the red blood cells that functions to transport oxygen to the tissues and organs of the body. This test is done to diagnose blood disorders, as a screening test for genetic conditions, and monitor treatment efficacy in patients having blood disorders. It also detects abnormal hemoglobin types which may interfere with the oxygen flow.

Why is HPLC done?

  • As a part of a routine checkup

  • To diagnose blood disorders

  • To monitor the treatment in patients having abnormal hemoglobin

  • As a screening test for genetic conditions

What does HPLC Measure?

Hemoglobin (Hb) Electrophoresis by HPLC test measures and identifies different types of hemoglobin in the blood. A human body contains various types of hemoglobin in their blood. With age, the percentage of hemoglobin present in the body changes. Hemoglobin is the protein which is present inside the red blood cells. Its function is to transport oxygen to the tissues and organs of the body.

When there is a change in DNA sequence commonly called a mutation, the production of hemoglobin gets affected. These type of changes cause abnormality in hemoglobin and the normal working of healthy hemoglobin gets defected. This will result in a decreased amount of required oxygen transported to tissues and organs. 

The different types of hemoglobin included in this test are:

  • Hemoglobin A - Adult hemoglobin 

  • Hemoglobin F

Hemoglobin F is found in growing fetuses and newborns. It is soon replaced with hemoglobin A after birth. Hemoglobin A is found in children and adults. It is the most common type of hemoglobin. Hemoglobin C, D, E, M, and S are rare types of abnormal hemoglobin that occur due to genetic mutations.

Interpreting HPLC results


In children 


Hemoglobin F


60 to 80%

1+ Year

1 to 2%


In adults

Normal levels


Type of Hemoglobin


Hemoglobin A

95% - 98%

Hemoglobin A2

2% - 3%

Hemoglobin F

1% - 2%

 All the results should be carefully analyzed and interpreted in correlation with the patient's signs and symptoms and other laboratory findings. 

  • Increased levels of fetal hemoglobin (HbF) on HPLC is associated with beta-thalassemia major. Sometimes, it can also be seen in sickle cell anemia 

  • High HbA2 levels are mostly associated with beta thalassemia minor or trait. Recent studies say that HbA2 level between 4% and 9% indicates beta thalassemia trait 

Answers to Patient Concerns & Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about HPLC

Frequently Asked Questions about Hemoglobin HPLC/ Electrophoresis

Q. How is the blood sample taken?
The healthcare provider takes a blood sample from the arm. The site from where the blood is to be withdrawn is cleaned with a swab of rubbing alcohol. This is then followed by inserting a small needle which has a tube attached to it for collecting blood. Once the sufficient blood for analysis is withdrawn, the needle is removed. The site is then covered with a gauze pad.
Q. Is there any risk associated with the withdrawal of blood sample procedure?
As such there is no risk but in few cases, bruising, bleeding, and infection at the puncture site can be seen. In very few cases, there can be swelling of the vein after the blood is withdrawn.
Q. In which conditions abnormal hemoglobin levels can be seen?
The abnormal hemoglobin levels can be seen in the following conditions: -> Hemoglobin C disease - It is a genetic disorder which leads to severe anemia. -> Rare hemoglobinopathy - They are a group of genetic disorders which cause the abnormal production or structure of red blood cells. -> Thalassemia - It is a condition in which there is less production of hemoglobin than what is required by the body to function properly. -> Sickle cell anemia - In this, Red Blood Cells take irregular shape which results in blocking of passage for the blood to flow.
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