To evaluate the incidence of hemoglobinopathies in Omani subjects and to forecast its future burden on health resources, we initiated a prospective neonatal screening program in two major cities of the Sultanate of Oman. Consecutive cord blood samples from a total of 7,837 neonates were analyzed for complete blood counts and for hemoglobin (Hb) profile by high performance liquid chromatography (HPLC). No case with Hb H (β4) was detected. We observed that the overall incidence of α-thalassemia (α-thal) was 48.5 [based on the presence of Hb Bart's (γ4)] and the β-globin-related abnormalities accounted for 9.5 of the samples (4.8 sickle cell trait, 2.6 β-thal trait, 0.9 Hb E trait, 0.8 Hb D trait, 0.08 Hb C trait, 0.3 sickle cell disease and 0.08 homozygous β-thal). This is also the first large study to establish reference ranges of cord red blood cell (RBC) indices for Omani neonates.
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