What is the Sickling test ?

A sickling test is used to detect sickle cell disorders or traits. Sickle cell disease is a hereditary blood condition that creates malformed RECs. RBCs are biconcave, disc-shaped blood components that transport oxygen to various body parts. However, in a sickle cell disease patient, the RBCs are irregularly shaped like a crescent sickle, hence the name sickle cell disease. Because irregularly shaped RBCs have a reduced ability to carry oxygen, the person becomes anemic. The Sickling test determines the type of hemoglobin in the blood.

What is the Sickling test used for?

A sickling test is used to identify sickle cell disorders like:

  • Haemoglobin SB+ (beta) thalassemia
  • Sickle Cell Anaemia
  • Haemoglobin SC disease
  • To screen newborns for sickle cell traits

What is included in the Sickling test?

The sickling test is a simple and frequently used method for diagnosing sickle cell anemia. It involves testing the blood for the presence of abnormal hemoglobin.


Procedure for Sickling test:

A simple blood test is done, the blood sample will be collected at home by a lab professional. A syringe will be used to draw blood from a vein in the arm. All necessary precautions, such as sanitizing the arm with an alcohol swab or antiseptic solution, will be done. Patients may experience pain ,which will reduce quickly.To avoid bleeding, a cotton swab or bandage will be placed over the arm after the blood is drawn.

Blood from the heel or a finger of a newborn baby is frequently collected on a glass slide.


What to do after the completion of the sickling test?

After the completion of the Sickling test, the following factors must be considered:

  • To stop the bleeding, use a cotton swab or a bandage over the arm.
  • An ice pack can also be used to relieve pain.
  • Eat iron-rich foods like leafy green vegetables and iron-fortified cereals.
  • If in case of a medical emergency, contact the doctor.

What do the test results or outcome mean?

  • A negative test result is normal. That means that the hemoglobin levels are normal.
  • A positive test could indicate that individuals have sickle cell trait, often known as SCD.

If the test is positive, the doctor may order a second test called hemoglobin electrophoresis. This will help determine the ailment.

If the test reveals that you have two defective hemoglobin genes, the doctor will most likely diagnose SCD. If the test results show that you have one of these faulty genes and no symptoms, the doctor will most likely diagnose you with sickle cell trait.


Frequently Asked Questions

1. Can sickle cell disease be cured?

There is currently no cure for sickle cell disease. Treatments, on the other hand, can help manage symptoms and enhance the quality of life.

2. Does Sickling Test Hurt?

The sickling test is not uncomfortable in and of itself, but like any blood draw, it may cause moderate discomfort or a short pinch.

3. Who should get a sickling test?

Sickling tests are often performed on people with sickle cell disease symptoms or a family history of the disease. In some areas, the test may also be administered as part of standard newborn screening.

4. Can sickle cell disease be prevented?

Sickle cell disease is a genetic condition that cannot be avoided. However, genetic counseling and prenatal testing can assist families in understanding their risk of having a child with sickle cell disease and making educated family planning decisions.

5. What is the cost of the sickling test?

The cost of the sickling test ranges from Rs. 230 to Rs. 500 approximately.