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A 30-year-old member asked:

Why does acid cause hemolysis?

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Dr. Martha Stark
Psychiatry 47 years experience
Can be avoided: Acetylsalicylic acid (aspirin) can cause severe hemolytic (i.e., breakdown of red blood cells with release of hemoglobin) anemia in certain individuals who are born with a deficiency in a particular enzyme (glucose-6-phosphate-dehydrogenase -- g6pd), an enzyme needed for rbcs to function properly. Once the triggers are identified (and avoided), you can lead a healthy and active life.
Dr. James Ball
Pediatric Hematology and Oncology 19 years experience
Denatures hemoglobin: In the lab, acidic solutions will denature hemoglobin, causing the red cell to hemolyze. Fetal hemoglobin is more resistant to this. This difference is the basis of a test to determine how much fetal blood is mixed in the maternal blood system of mom's who are rh negative, and thus need rhogam.

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Last updated Jul 26, 2012

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