Background: Hemoglobinopathies and thalassemia are defined as a group of inherited blood disorders characterized by a variable degree of anemia with a wide spectrum of clinical symptoms. They are commonly found in the Mediterranean area, sub-Sahara Africa, Middle East, Central India, and Southeast Asia with an estimation of 400,000 babies born annually with serious hemoglobinopathies. Of those, 90% of the births occur in underdevel-oped or developing countries. This study was undertaken to investigate the prevalence of hemoglobin disorders among anemic patients who visited a tertiary care setting represented by King Abdulaziz University Hospital.
Methods: This is a cross sectional study which investigated blood samples from 668 anemic patients for possible causes of anemia. This investigation involved the use of complete blood count, hemoglobin separation using capillary electrophoresis, and measurement of nutritional elements commonly investigated for anemia.
Results: We found that the frequency of different types of hemoglobinopathies and thalassemia among the subjects were as follow; normal (HbAA) 439 (65.7%); Sickle Cell Trait (HbAS) 65 (9.7%); Sickle Cell Anemia (HbSS) 63 (9.4%); β-thalassemia trait 48 (7.2%); Hb S/β 27 (4.0%); HbH 7 (1.0%); HbE 6 (0.9%); beta-thalassemia major 6 (0.9%); Hb E/beta-thalassemia 4 (0.6%); HbC 1 (0.1%); HbD 1 (0.1%) and HbSC 1 (0.1%).
Conclusions: The findings of this study emphasize the necessity of increasing public health education, neonatal and adult screening programs, as well as nutritional guidance and plans to start the eradication of this burden.