The measurement of free erythrocyte porphyrin (FEP) as a simple means of distinguishing iron deficiency from beta-thalassemia trait in subjects with microcytosis.J Lab Clin Med 1975; 85(1):113-9JL
Assay of free erythrocyte porphyrin (FEP) and measurement of red cell indices were obtained in a group of subjects with iron deficiency and beta-thalassemia trait to determine if these studies cound detect these disorders and discriminate bbetween them. FEP values were increased in 90.2 per cent of subjects with iron deficiency but were within the normal range in 96.6 per cent of subjects with beta-thalassemia trait. Mean FEP values increased sligtly as transferrin saturation fell but became abnormally elevated when the transferrin saturation fell but became abnormally elevated when the transferrin saturation was less than 15 per cent. Unlike subjecs with iron deficiency in whom the mean corpuscular volume varied from 46 to 84, all individuals with beta-thalassermia trait exhibited microcytosis. In most instances, determination of FEP appears to distinguish beta-thalassemia trait from iron deficiency in patients with microcytosis.