Heinz Bodies

Heinz Bodies for Hemoglobin H Inclusions , Hemoglobin H , HB , ARUP #49090, EPIC: LAB6265, SOFT: XHNZB


  • Due to specimen stability, samples must arrive in Send Out Laboratory by 12:00 p.m. on the day of collection, Monday-Thursday only. Specimens can only be collected Monday-Thursday before 11:00 a.m.
  • This test will not be run on infants under 6 months of age.

Specimen Collection Criteria

Collect (preferred specimen): One Lavender-top EDTA tube.
Also acceptable: One Dark Green-top Sodium or Lithium Heparin tube.

Specimens can only be collected Monday-Thursday before 11:00 a.m. Specimen is STAT and must be sent for processing immediately after collection.

Physician Office/Drawsite Specimen Preparation

Do not centrifuge. Do not freeze specimen. Maintain whole blood refrigerated (2-8°C or 36-46°F) until transport. Courier Services must be contacted for a STAT pickup at 1-800-551-0488.

Preparation for Courier Transport

Transport: 5.0 mL whole blood, refrigerated (2-8°C or 36-46°F). (Min: 2.0 mL)

Rejection Criteria

  • Centrifuged specimens.
  • Room temperature or frozen specimens.
  • Samples greater than 96 hours old.
  • Specimens drawn from patients under six months of age.
  • Specimens not collected and processed as indicated.


0,Specimens are stable for 24 hours at room temperature (20o to 26o C; 68o to 79o F) and 72 hours at 2-8oC.


Monday - Friday.
Results available in 2-5 days.

Reference Range

Direct: Negative.
Induced: Normal.

Test Methodology

Supravital Stain.


The presence of Heinz bodies can indicate:

  1. The ingestion of a sufficient amount of oxidizing drug or chemical (e.g., phenylhydrazine, chlorate, naphthalene) which overwhelms the normal protective mechanism of the red cell and denatures hemoglobin.
  2. The ingestion of an aniline-derived drug (e.g., primaquine, sulfanilamide) in individuals with G-6-PD deficiency (or other enzyme deficiencies of the hexosemonophosphate oxidative pathway resulting in decreased reduced glutathione) which renders hemoglobin susceptible to oxidative denaturation.
  3. The presence of Hemoglobin H or an unstable hemoglobin (Zurich, Koln, Seattle, Gun Hill). Heinz bodies also increase in number after splenectomy.

Clinical Utility

Heinz body staining assists in the diagnosis of oxidizing chemical ingestion, G-6-PD deficiency, alpha thalassemia, and certain unstable hemoglobin conditions.

CPT Code

85441, 85445.

Test Codes


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