Methaemoglobin, sulphaemoglobin - blood

Last updated: Wednesday, 28, April, 2004

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Item Process
Specimen

5 mL blood in EDTA.

Method

Spectroscopic screening and spectrophotometric quantitation.

See also Haemoximetry.

Reference Interval

Methaemoglobin <1% of total haemoglobin in normal blood, slightly higher in infants, particularly if premature.

Sulphaemoglobin is not present in normal blood.

Application

Investigation of unexplained central cyanosis; possible oxidant drug haemolysis (eg, sulphonamides, aniline dyes, nitrates and nitrites).

Interpretation

Increased levels of methaemoglobin are seen in patients with Hb M haemoglobinopathy or methaemoglobin-reductase deficiency and following oxidant drug exposure.
See also Heinz body preparation - blood.

Sulphaemoglobin may occur with exposure to certain drugs especially sulphonamides.

Reference

Bradberry SM. Toxicol Rev 2003; 22(1): 13-27.