Alpha Thalassemia (Online Course)

(based on 339 customer ratings)

Author: Lillian Mundt, EdD, MHS, MT(ASCP)SH, CLS(NCA)SpH
Reviewer: Catherine Hart, MT(ASCP)

This course defines and discusses in depth the disorder alpha thalassemia, its genetics, and associated laboratory findings. Clinical manifestations of alpha thalassemia major, intermedia, and minor are defined and differentiated. Laboratory findings associated with all three manifestations are covered in detail. The course addresses special procedures, including hemoglobin electrophoresis and brilliant cresyl blue stain, and concludes with an in-depth case study.

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Continuing Education Credits

  • P.A.C.E.® Contact Hours: 1.5 hour(s)
  • Florida Board of Clinical Laboratory Science CE - General (Hematology): 1.5 hour(s)


  • Define Alpha Thalassemia.
  • List the clinical manifestations of the various forms of Alpha Thalassemia.
  • Compare and contrast laboratory findings for Alpha Thalassemia.
  • Differentiate among the various forms of Alpha Thalassemia.
  • Identify synonyms for the various forms of Alpha Thalassemia.
  • Correlate each type of Alpha Thalassemia with its genetic nomenclature/designation.
  • Explain the molecular basis for the various forms of Alpha Thalassemia (Chromosome associated with Alpha Thalassemia; and the degree of defect for the various forms of Alpha Thalassemia).
  • Interpret routine laboratory results for the case given and arrive at a differential diagnosis.
  • Interpret special hematology tests (Hemoglobin electrophoresis; Special stains).
  • Suggest laboratory tests to confirm this presumptive diagnosis; and suggest explanations for discrepancies among laboratory tests.

Customer Ratings

(based on 339 customer ratings)

Course Outline

  • Defining Thalassemia
      • Defining Thalassemia
      • Defining Alpha Thalassemia
      • Alpha Thalassemia States
      • Anemia in Alpha Thalassemia
      • Which two of the following conditions can lead to thalassemia?
  • Clinical Manifestations of Alpha Thalassemia
      • Alpha Thalassemia Major
      • Alpha Thalassemia Intermedia
      • Alpha Thalassemia Minor
      • Silent Carrier
      • Hemoglobin H disease is found in which ethnic group?
  • Genetics of Alpha Thalassemia
      • Normal Chromosome 16
      • Chromosome 16 Alpha Thalassemia Silent Carrier
      • Chromosome 16 Alpha Thalassemia Minor
      • Alpha Thalassemia Minor - Homozygous
      • Alpha Thalassemia Minor - Heterozygous
      • Chromosome 16 Alpha Thalassemia Intermedia
      • Chromosome 16 Alpha Thalassemia Major
      • Match the alpha thalassemia variants below with their genotypic notation.
  • Laboratory Findings in Alpha Thalassemia
    • Hematology
      • Silent Carrier
      • Alpha Thalassemia Minor
      • Alpha Thalassemia Intermedia
      • Alpha Thalassemia Major
      • Nucleated red blood cells (NRBCs) are most often seen in which variant of alpha thalassemia?
    • Chemistry
      • Serum Iron
      • Serum Bilirubin
      • Lactate Dehydrogenase
      • Serum Haptoglobin
  • Special Procedures
    • Hemoglobin Electrophoresis
      • Hemoglobin Electrophoresis Theory
      • Migration of Hemoglobin in Alkaline Electrophoresis
      • Normal Hemoglobin Electrophoresis
      • Sample Alkaline Hemoglobin Electrophoresis
      • Densitometer Tracings
      • In what order do normal and abnormal hemoglobins migrate in alkaline electrophoresis (from cathode to anode)?
    • Brilliant Cresyl Blue Stain
      • Hemoglobin H bodies
      • Reticulocytes
      • Normal Cells
      • Match the images of these cells stained with the supravital stain, brilliant cresyl blue, with the appropriate description.
  • Case Study
    • Case History
      • Case History
    • Complete blood cell count results
      • Complete Blood Count Results
      • A peripheral blood smear made from an EDTA-anticoagulated blood specimen revealed the following results when stained with Wright-Giemsa stain and view...
      • A 29-year-old female of Philippine descent is seen by her physician for fatigue. The patient states that a relative told her that their family has a l...
    • Serum Chemistry Tests
      • Serum Chemistry Results
    • Hemoglobin Electrophoresis
      • Hemoglobin alkaline electrophoresis on this patient's sample is pictured on the right.Which hemoglobin bands are present?
    • Brilliant Cresyl Blue Stain
      • A brilliant cresyl blue stain was performed on this patient's sample. How should this stain be interpreted?
    • Repeat Hemoglobin Electrophoresis
      • Repeat Hemoglobin Electrophoresis
    • Summary of Case Study
      • Summary
  • References
      • References

Additional Information

Level of instruction: Intermediate

Intended Audience: Clinical laboratory technologists and technicians, and other health care personnel who have an interest in this subject matter. This course is also appropriate for clinical laboratory science students and pathology residents.
Author Information:  Lillian Mundt, EdD, CLS(NCA)SpH, MT(ASCP)SH is an Associate Professor and Acting Department Chair in the Department of Clinical Laboratory Sciences at Rosalind Franklin University. She is responsible for various courses in the graduate programs as well as departmental administration.
She received her Bachelor of Arts degree in Medical Technology from Aurora College, Aurora, Illinois Her graduate work was completed at Governor's State University, University Park, Illinois, from which she received her Master of Health Science in Allied Health Professions Education; her doctorate in Educational Leadership was earned in 2007 from the University of Phoenix.

Her work experience includes a position as a medical technologist in hematology for 30 plus years at Hinsdale Hospital, Department of Pathology, where she still works on an as-needed basis. Lillian also taught at Hinsdale Hospital School of Medical Technology from 1989 until it closed in 1994. 
Reviewer Credentials: Catherine Hart, MT(ASCP) received her Bachelor of Science degree in Medical Technology at Marquette University. She has been a Medical Technologist at Lake Forest Hospital in Illinois for twenty years and is currently a Senior Technologist, with responsibilities in Blood Bank, Hematology, and the competency and proficiency testing program of the laboratory. Ms. Hart has been the adjunct Blood Bank instructor for the Clinical Laboratory Sciences program at Rosalind Franklin University since 2001 and is the Blood Bank clinical instructor at Lake Forest Hospital. As of May 2007, she joined the RFUMS CLS appointed faculty and is teaching the Hematology and Blood Bank courses. 
Course Description: This course defines and discusses in depth the disorder, alpha thalassemia. Topics include: Clinical manifestations, the genetics of alpha thalassemia, and laboratory findings.


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