Spectrophometric normal values for fetal hemoglobin in relation to gestational age

J. C. Möller*, M. Netzel, R. Jensen, M. Kohl, E. M. Nitsche

*Corresponding author for this work


Background: The proportion of fetal hemoglobin (HbF) in preterm and term infants in relation to gestational age is important for establishing optimal transfusion strategies. Spectrophotometry allows HbF to be determined in small blood samples drawn for total hemoglobin and oxygen saturation measurements. In the present study, we investigated a large number of preterm and term neonates to obtain normal values for different age groups. Methods: In samples from 239 infants in our neonatal intensive care unit, we measured HbF as a percentage of total hemoglobin on the first day of life using the spectrophotometer OSM3 (cross-sectional study). In 80 neonates, the HbF fraction of total hemoglobin was determined every week (longitudinal study). Subgroups of small-for-gestational-age (SGA) infants, and infants of pre- eclamptic and smoking mothers were compared with neonates appropriate for gestational age (AGA). Results: There was no difference in the decrease of HbF in relation to gestational age between the cross-sectional and longitudinal groups, i.e. modern intensive care did not alter the kinetics of HbF decrease. SGA infants and infants of pre-eclamptic mothers showed a delay in HbF decrease. Compared to earlier studies, the decrease of HbF was delayed. Conclusions: As sick preterm and term neonates have HbF levels above 60%, transfusion with adult blood might be beneficial in improving oxygen delivery.

Original languageEnglish
JournalPrenatal and Neonatal Medicine
Issue number1
Pages (from-to)22-26
Number of pages5
Publication statusPublished - 2000

Research Areas and Centers

  • Academic Focus: Center for Brain, Behavior and Metabolism (CBBM)


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