Sickle Cell: ‘Why genotype tests give wrong results’

Should genotype be a deciding factor in choice of partner?

Professor Sagir Ahmed, a consultant hematologist at Aminu Kano Teaching Hospital (AKTH), has explained why many prospective couples who submitted themselves for genotype testing before marriage could end up with wrong results.

Speaking to newsmen on Saturday during the celebration of the 2019 World Sickle Cell and Blood Donation Day at Bayero University Kano (BUK), Professor Ahmed said there were two issues concerning the increase in birth of children with sickle cell disorder despite the intense sensitization on the problem.

“As far as genotype testing is concerned, there are two issues: One, those who deliberately refuse to do the testing before marriage should know that they are responsible for whatever happen to their children after marriage.

“Two, There are those who submit themselves to hospital for the genotype testing but the test results were wrongly issued. Usually, this happen when the test is done using ordinary method,” he said.

“There are several methods by which genotype can be determined and the commonest method is called hemoglobin electrophoresis. On the other hand, the sophisticated method is called hemoglobin chromatography.

“I will advise individuals who are about to get married to to have their genotype determined by hemoglobin chromatography genotype test and this is available at AKTH and possibly, other hospitals in Kano,” he added.

Professor Ahmed said many couples end up getting wrong genotype test results because they opt for the electrophoresis method of test which he said is cheaper and prone to errors.

On the management of sickle cell disease, the expert, who also lectures at the BUK hematology department, identified the key factors that could cause, pain, known as “crisis” in patients.

He said in addition to malaria and other infections, menstruation, pregnancy and psychological and mental issues could also trigger crisis.

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