Research Article

Neonatal screening for sickle haemoglobinopathies in Birmingham.

Br Med J (Clin Res Ed) 1982; 284 doi: (Published 27 March 1982) Cite this as: Br Med J (Clin Res Ed) 1982;284:933
  1. K D Griffiths,
  2. D N Raine,
  3. J R Mann


    During 1978-81 there were about 43,500 births in Birmingham, of which 10.3% were to Negroes and 22.6% to Asians. Cellulose acetate electrophoresis of red cell haemolysates from capillary specimens collected for phenylketonuria screening was performed for these babies to assess the feasibility, cost, and benefits of detecting sickle haemoglobinopathies early. Eight babies had important haemoglobinopathies; four were homozygotes for haemoglobin S (HbS), three were mixed heterozygotes for HbS and haemoglobin C (HbC), and one had haemoglobin E (HbE) and beta-thalassemia. Also, 534 (1.19%) were heterozygotes for HbS or haemoglobin D (HbD) and 205 (0.46%) for HbC or HbE, 453 (1.01%) were heterozygotes with a fast-moving band, one was a heterozygote for haemoglobin Norfolk, and one a heterozygote for both HbS and haemoglobin G Philadelphia. The cost of neonatal screening for haemoglobinopathies was 12.5 p per baby (705 pounds for each serious abnormality).