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The page below is a sample from the LabCE course Beta Thalassemia. Access the complete course and earn ASCLS P.A.C.E.-approved continuing education credits by subscribing online.

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Case History Summary

The laboratory findings in this case represent classic findings seen in beta thalassemia minor including: erythrocytosis, decreased hemoglobin, normal hematocrit, normal RDW, and the presence of codocytes (target cells). This patient does have a mild anemia, but some patients with beta thalassemia minor have no anemia.

Hemoglobin electrophoresis confirms this diagnosis, showing an increased Hb A2 level and decreased Hb A.

In addition, the slightly increased iron and slightly decreased TIBC contradict a suspicion of iron deficiency. These chemistry results are typical for beta thalassemia, even though the red blood cells are microcytic and hypochromic.