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Review
, 72 (7), 1277-82

Diagnosis and Management of G6PD Deficiency

Affiliations
  • PMID: 16225031
Review

Diagnosis and Management of G6PD Deficiency

Jennifer E Frank. Am Fam Physician.

Abstract

Glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase deficiency, the most common enzyme deficiency worldwide, causes a spectrum of disease including neonatal hyperbilirubinemia, acute hemolysis, and chronic hemolysis. Persons with this condition also may be asymptomatic. This X-linked inherited disorder most commonly affects persons of African, Asian, Mediterranean, or Middle-Eastern descent. Approximately 400 million people are affected worldwide. Homozygotes and heterozygotes can be symptomatic, although the disease typically is more severe in persons who are homozygous for the deficiency. The conversion of nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide phosphate to its reduced form in erythrocytes is the basis of diagnostic testing for the deficiency. This usually is done by fluorescent spot test. Different gene mutations cause different levels of enzyme deficiency, with classes assigned to various degrees of deficiency and disease manifestation. Because acute hemolysis is caused by exposure to an oxidative stressor in the form of an infection, oxidative drug, or fava beans, treatment is geared toward avoidance of these and other stressors. Acute hemolysis is self-limited, but in rare instances it can be severe enough to warrant a blood transfusion. Neonatal hyperbilirubinemia may require treatment with phototherapy or exchange transfusion to prevent kernicterus. The variant that causes chronic hemolysis is uncommon because it is related to sporadic gene mutation rather than the more common inherited gene mutation.

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