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How much risk is there for a baby whose mother is beta thalassemic?

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Practicing since : 2002
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hi i am a mother of a 1 yr 9 months( 21 month) old boy. i am a beta thalessemic trait ( mildly low hbA and mildly high Hb A2) with slighly low ; the father of the child has normal levels. i am curious if my son is or not a trait as well... both of us are mildly anemic with his hb at 11.9 and mine at 9.5
i have done his hb electrophoresis @ 4 months age with report as under
Hemoglobin A1 PEAK NORMAL, SECOND PEAK IDENTIFIED IS OF HEMOGLOBIN A2 @ 2% of total hb; normal <3.5%
AN additional peak of hemoglobin F was found at 13.7%; resistnt <20%
the second test recently done shows slighlty low hb A (91 normal is above 94) and slightly hig. h hb F (3.2 while normal is less than 2)
Posted Tue, 27 Nov 2012 in Blood Disorders
Answered by Dr. Robert Galamaga 3 hours later
Hello and thank you for sending your question.

Your question is a very good one and I work on providing you with some information and recommendations.

I completely understand exactly what you are trying to find regarding your child. From the test results that you have reported I am not very concerned that he will have to deal with issues regarding his hemoglobin. Also the fact that you are a carrier of the trade and your husband is essentially negative for thalassemia this makes the likelihood of any type of inherited problem much lower.

There is a mild elevation of hemoglobin F Which may eventually go down to the normal range. In some cases there can be a hereditary persistence of this type of hemoglobin. Again in the case of your child this is not going to cause any clinically significant problems or symptoms.

I expect that your child will grow and flourish without any issues related to his blood count.

It is possible that he might have a thalassemia trait but if so it is very minor and not clinically significant as I mentioned earlier. I would suggest that you repeat his hemoglobin testing again in about one year to assess for how things look. At some times especially in very young children these tests can be somewhat misleading.

Again I don't think you have anything really to worry about but I do commend you on trying to be thorough in evaluating your child.

Thanks again for sending your question. Please let me know if you have any additional concerns.

Dr Robert
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
Follow-up: How much risk is there for a baby whose mother is beta thalassemic? 7 hours later
thank u doctor for a reassuring response; appreciate it.

another question that arises in my mind is that if my abnormality is in hb A2; so would that not mean if geneticallty inherited; his hbA2 should be elevated too like mine in order to carry beta trait or is it not so??
or if i am beta thalessemic trait he could be alpha too??
i know there is a long way to go but on case he carries a trait then he needs to be careful at the time he wants to be a father.
i would definitely repeat the test after an year or so.

many thanks
Answered by Dr. Robert Galamaga 19 hours later
You're correct we would expect his A2 to be elevated typically.

I really suspect that he will not have any clinically significant issues as he continues to grow older and mature.

It would be relavent as I stated earlier to check another hemoglobin analysis in the future just to be sure.

Take good care,

Dr Robert
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
Follow-up: How much risk is there for a baby whose mother is beta thalassemic? 6 hours later
thank u doctor for answering again; do you think i could start him on iron supplement to cover up his low hb or i have wait for another year till i repeat the tests? pls advice. thanks in advance.
Answered by Dr. Robert Galamaga 27 hours later
Hello again and thank you for the follow up question.

I do not see any need for special supplementation at this point. A multivitamin as well as a good well balanced diet would be all that I would recommend right now.

Again I would repeat the test in about one year. I would also continue to discuss him with your pediatrician or pediatric hematologist.

Thanks again for allowing me to participate in your healthcare concerns.

Dr. Robert
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
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