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Haptoglobin, serum

Haptoglobin is a plasma glycoprotein whose primary function is to irreversibly bind free oxyhemoglobin and deliver it to the reticuloendothelial system. The complex is rapidly degraded to amino acids and iron. Haptoglobin prevents loss of hemoglobin in to urine and conserves iron.

Haptoglobin is an acute phase protein and plasma levels are increased in patients with acute and chronic inflammatory disorders and malignancies. Decreased levels are associated with hemolysis, liver disease, sickle cell anemia and genetic haptoglobinemia.

Clinically, haptoglobin levels are useful in the work-up of intravascular hemolysis. Typically, haptoglobin levels fall below 40 mg/dL following hemolysis. However, haptoglobin levels need to be interpreted carefully. Often, haptoglobin levels are not drawn until after a patient has been transfused with red blood cells.Units of stored blood contain sufficient amounts of free hemoglobin to decrease haptoglobin. Ideally, haptoglobin levels should be ordered prior to transfusion.

Reference range is 30 - 200 mg/dL.

Specimen requirement is one SST tube of blood.

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