Research Article

A highly cost effective method of mass screening for thalassaemia.

Br Med J (Clin Res Ed) 1983; 286 doi: (Published 26 March 1983) Cite this as: Br Med J (Clin Res Ed) 1983;286:1007
  1. E Silvestroni,
  2. I Bianco


    A simple, fast, and reliable two step procedure for the detection of non-alpha-thalassaemias in mass screening programmes is presented. Step 1 consists of a study of red cell morphology and a one tube red cell osmotic fragility tests. This step eliminates the non-thalassaemic samples; the rest are processed through step 2, consisting of determination of red cell indices and haemoglobin studies. Over the past seven years this procedure has been used at this centre in mass screening secondary school students in Latium. Blood samples from 289 763 students were examined, and 6838 cases of thalassaemia detected. It is estimated that 0.35 +/- 0.25% of subjects with thalassaemia escaped detection by this procedure.