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Diagnostic Screening for Sickle Cell Disease

A special type of blood test is the only way to determine if a person has sickle cell disease, sickle cell trait or another abnormal hemoglobinopathy. Several tests are used when screening for sickle cell disease and other abnormal hemoglobinopathies. The most common tests used today are:

  • Hemoglobin electrophoresis
  • High performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) and
  • Deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) testing

All 50 states use one of these methods to determine if a newborn has sickle cell disease or another type of hemoglobinopathy.

A SickleDex test IS NOT an appropriate method for hemoglobin screening. This test can not distinguish sickle cell trait from sickle cell disease; it also can not detect other types of hemoglobinopathy.

A person with sickle cell trait is considered a carrier of sickle cell disease. A parent with sickle cell trait can pass it onto their child. If one parent has sickle cell trait, and one parent has another type of abnormal hemoglobin trait, there is a chance the child will have sickle cell disease. Sickle cell disease is a serious lifelong illness that can cause many complications. For more information regarding the health risks or the chances of inheriting sickle cell trait, sickle cell disease, or another type of abnormal hemoglobin trait or disease, see the related links.