Hemoglobinuria

Definition

Hemoglobinuria test is a urine test that checks for hemoglobin in the urine.

Alternative Names

Urine - hemoglobin

How the Test is Performed

A clean-catch (midstream) urine sample is needed. The clean-catch method is used to prevent germs from the penis or vagina from getting into a urine sample. To collect your urine, you may get a special clean-catch kit from your health care provider that contains a cleansing solution and sterile wipes. Follow instructions exactly so that the results are accurate.

How to Prepare for the Test

No special preparation is necessary for this test. If the collection is being taken from an infant, a couple of extra collection bags may be necessary.

How the Test will Feel

The test involves only normal urination. There is no discomfort.

Why the Test is Performed

Hemoglobin is a molecule attached to red blood cells. Hemoglobin helps move oxygen and carbon dioxide through the body.

Red blood cells have an average life span of 120 days. After this time, they are broken down into parts that can make a new red blood cell. This breakdown takes place in the spleen, bone marrow, and liver. If the red blood cells break down in the blood vessels, their parts move freely in the bloodstream.

If the level of hemoglobin in the blood rises too high, then hemoglobin begins to appear in the urine. This is called hemoglobinuria.

This test may be used to help diagnose causes of hemoglobinuria, such as those listed in the "What Abnormal Results Mean" section.

Normal Results

Normally, hemoglobin does not appear in the urine.

What Abnormal Results Mean

Hemoglobinuria may be a result of any of the following:

  • A kidney disorder called acute glomerulonephritis
  • Burns
  • Crushing injury
  • Hemoglobin C disease
  • Hemoglobin SC disease
  • Hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS)
  • Kidney infection
  • Kidney tumor
  • Malaria
  • Paroxysmal nocturnal hemoglobinuria
  • Paroxysmal cold hemoglobinuria
  • Sickle cell anemia
  • Thalassemia
  • Thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura (TTP)
  • Transfusion reaction
  • Tuberculosis

References

Brodsky RA. Paroxysmal nocturnal hemoglobinuria. In: Hoffman R, Benz EJ, Silberstein LE, et al, eds. Hematology: Basic Principles and Practice. 6th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Churchill Livingstone; 2013:chap 29.

Landry DW, Bazari H. Approach to the patient with renal disease. In: Goldman L, Schafer AI, eds. Goldman's Cecil Medicine. 25th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2016:chap 114.

McPherson RA, Ben-Ezra J, Zhao S. Basic examination of urine. In: McPherson RA, Pincus MR, eds. Henry's Clinical Diagnosis and Management by Laboratory Methods. 22nd ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2011:chap 28.

Review Date: 8/29/2015

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