Hemoglobin E: A common hemoglobinopathy among children of Southeast Asian origin

E. Katsanis, K. H. Luke, E. Hsu, J. R. Yates

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9 Scopus citations


With the recent immigration of Southeast Asians to Canada, hemoglobin E has become a frequent diagnosis. The clinical and hematologic findings in 42 children (mean age 4.3 years) with hemoglobin E are presented. There were 33 heterozygotes (having hemoglobin E trait), 6 heterozygotes (having hemoglobin EE) and 3 double heterozygotes (having hemoglobin E-β-thalassemia). The heterozygotes had low-normal hemoglobin levels and mean corpuscular volumes; coexisting iron deficiency, present in 62% of these children, resulted in substantially lower hemoglobin levels, very low mean corpuscular volumes and lower than expected levels of hemoglobin E on electrophoresis. The children with hemoglobin EE were only slightly anemic, but those with hemoglobin E-β-thalassemia had severe anemia and required long-term transfusion therapy. Nutritional factors and parasitic infestations were the main causes of iron depletion, which was commone, particularly in children less than 2 years old (87%). Physicians of patients of Southeast Asian origin should be aware of the clinical and hematologic presentation of these hemoglobinopathies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)39-42
Number of pages4
JournalCanadian Medical Association journal
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1987

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


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