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Use of Complete Blood Cell Count Components to Screen for Hereditary Spherocytosis in Neonates

The neonatal hereditary spherocytosis (HS) index, defined as the mean corpuscular hemoglobin concentration divided by the mean corpuscular volume, has been proposed as a screening tool for HS in neonates. In a population of mostly white infants, an HS Index >0.36 was 97% sensitive and >99% specific. We evaluated the utility of the HS Index among a more racially and ethnically diverse population and determined if its discrimination varies with total serum bilirubin (TSB) levels. Infants born at ≥35 weeks’ gestation at 15 Kaiser Permanente Northern California hospitals from 1995 to 2015 were eligible (N = 670 272). Erythrocyte indices from the first complete blood count drawn at ≤7 days and TSB levels drawn at ≤30 days were obtained. Diagnoses of HS were confirmed via chart review. HS was confirmed in 79 infants, 1.2 per 10 000. HS was more common among infants of white and “other” race or ethnicity and among those with higher peak TSB levels. The area under the receiver operating characteristic curve for the HS Index was 0.84 (95% confidence interval 0.78-0.90). Likelihood ratios ranged from 10.1 for an HS Index ≥0.380 to 0.1 for an HS Index <0.310. Dichotomized at 0.36, the HS Index was 56% sensitive and 93% specific. Discrimination of the HS Index appeared best among infants with TSB levels <10 mg/dL. The HS Index, when obtained from a CBC drawn within the first week after birth, had only modest ability to alter the probability of HS.

Authors: Weiss, Nicole M; Kuzniewicz, Michael W; Shimano, Kristin A; Walsh, Eileen M; Newman, Thomas B

Pediatrics. 2021 09;148(3). Epub 2021-08-10.

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