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Haptoglobin, Serum

Serum haptoglobin measurement is used to detect intravascular destruction (lysis) of red blood cells, a condition called hemolysis.

Haptoglobins are glycoproteins produced by the liver and have the ability to bind strongly to free hemoglobin. In hemolytic anemias associated with erythrocyte hemolysis, the released hemoglobin rapidly binds to haptoglobin and the resulting haptoglobin-hemoglobin complex is rapidly catabolized. This results in a decrease in the concentration of free haptoglobin in the serum and at the same time this decrease cannot be quickly offset by the normal production of haptoglobin by the liver. As a result, the patient exhibits a transient, decreased serum haptoglobin concentration. Megaloblastic anemia can decrease haptoglobin levels due to the increased destruction of megaloblastic precursors of red blood cells in the bone marrow.

Heptoglobins are also reduced in patients with primary liver disease not associated with hemolytic anemia. This is because the diseased liver is unable to produce these glycoproteins. The presence of a large hematoma can also decrease haptoglobin levels due to the absorption of hemoglobin and its binding to haptoglobin.

Increased concentrations of haptoglobin are observed in many inflammatory diseases and can be used as a non-specific acute-phase protein in the same way as CRP and ESR are used. That is, the levels of haptoglobin are increased in severe infection, inflammation, tissue destruction, acute myocardial infarction, burns, and certain cancers. A slight decrease in haptoglobin levels is observed in normal pregnancy.

What Do Pathological values Mean?
  • Increase: Collagen disease, infection, tissue destruction, biliary obstruction, nephritis, pyelonephritis, ulcerative colitis, peptic ulcer, myocardial infarction, acute rheumatic disease, neoplasia. Medications: androgens, steroids.
  • Decrease: Hemolytic anemia, transfusion reactions, prosthetic heart valves, systemic lupus erythematosus, primary liver disease not associated with hemolytic anemia, hemolytic disease, infancy, hematoma, tissue hemorrhage, megaloblastic anemia, severe malnutrition. Medications: chlorpromazine, diphenhydramine, indomethacin, isoniazid, nitrofurantoin, oral contraceptives, quinidine, streptomycin.



Important Note

Laboratory test results are the most important parameter for the diagnosis and monitoring of all pathological conditions. 70%-80% of diagnostic decisions are based on laboratory tests. The correct interpretation of laboratory results allows a doctor to distinguish "healthy" from "diseased".

Laboratory test results should not be interpreted from the numerical result of a single analysis. Test results should be interpreted in relation to each individual case and family history, clinical findings, and the results of other laboratory tests and information. Your personal physician should explain the importance of your test results.

At Diagnostiki Athinon we answer any questions you may have about the test you perform in our laboratory and we contact your doctor to get the best possible medical care.

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