Automated oxyhemoglobin dissociation curve construction to assess sickle cell anemia therapy

J Natl Med Assoc. 2000 Sep;92(9):430-5.


Oxyhemoglobin dissociation curves measure the most important function of red blood cells - the affinity for oxygen and its delivery to the tissues. This function may be deranged in sickle cell anemia and some other hemoglobinopathies. An automated oxyhemoglobin dissociation curve analyzer constructed dissociation curves in 55 patients with hemoglobinopathies and in 24 control subjects while maintaining constant temperature and pH. Sigmoid curves were converted to rectilinear ones using the Hill equation. Oxygen affinity of red cells was assessed by calculation of P50 (the PO2 at which hemoglobin is half saturated). Results revealed separation of oxyhemoglobin dissociation Hill plots according to phenotype but with wide variability. Mean oxygen affinity of fetal hemoglobin was greatest, whereas that of sickle hemoglobin was least. Other hemoglobins were intermediate. A positive correlation between decreased oxygen affinity and carboxyhemoglobin confirmed the decreased oxygen affinity of sickle hemoglobin and decreased oxygen affinity and increased diphosphoglycerate in red cells. Hill plots are less sensitive discriminators of oxygen affinity than traditional sigmoid dissociation curves and offer no particular advantage. Serial studies in a subset of three sickle cell anemia patients treated conservatively suggest automated oxyhemoglobin dissociation curves may be useful in assessment of effectiveness of newer therapies of sickle cell anemia after refinement of the method and studies of larger populations.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Anemia, Sickle Cell / blood*
  • Anemia, Sickle Cell / therapy*
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Female
  • Hemoglobinometry
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Oxyhemoglobins / analysis*


  • Oxyhemoglobins