The effect of elevated fetal hemoglobin on hemoglobin A1c results: five common hemoglobin A1c methods compared with the IFCC reference method

Am J Clin Pathol. 2008 May;129(5):811-4. doi: 10.1309/YFVTUD0GHJF7D16H.


Hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c) is an important indicator of risk for complications in patients with diabetes mellitus. Elevated fetal hemoglobin (HbF) levels have been reported to interfere with results of some HbA1c methods, but it has generally been assumed that HbA1c results from boronate-affinity methods are not affected by elevated HbF levels. None of the previous studies used the International Federation of Clinical Chemistry and Laboratory Medicine (IFCC) reference method as the comparative HbA1c method. We, therefore, measured HbA1c in samples with normal and elevated HbF levels by several common assay methods and compared the results with those of the IFCC reference method.HbF levels of more than 20% artificially lowered HbA1c results from the Primus CLC 330/385 (Primus Diagnostics, Kansas City, MO), Siemens DCA2000 (Siemens Healthcare Diagnostics, Tarrytown, NY), and Tosoh 2.2+ (Tosoh Bioscience, South San Francisco, CA), but not the Bio-Rad Variant II (Bio-Rad Laboratories, Hercules, CA) and Tosoh G7. Physicians and laboratory professionals need to be aware of potential interference from elevated HbF levels that could affect HbA1c results, including those from boronate-affinity methods.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Chromatography, Affinity / methods
  • Fetal Hemoglobin / analysis*
  • Glycated Hemoglobin A / analysis*
  • Hematologic Tests / methods*
  • Hematologic Tests / standards
  • Humans
  • Reproducibility of Results


  • Glycated Hemoglobin A
  • hemoglobin A1c protein, human
  • Fetal Hemoglobin