Hemoglobinuria

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Definition

noun

A condition characterized by the presence of an atypically high concentration of free hemoglobin in the urine


Supplement

Hemoglobinuria is a condition in which the urine has an abnormally high concentration of hemoglobin. In this condition, the hemoglobin is not attached to red blood cells. Normally, the hemoglobin serves as a transport molecule in red blood cells. The molecule has an affinity for oxygen. It binds to oxygen molecules in the respiratory organ and then carries them to the rest of the body via the bloodstream. Hemoglobin in urine is therefore not common and is often associated with other pathological conditions such as acute glomerulonephritis, malaria, renal cancer, hemolytic-uremic syndrome, thrombocytopenic purpura, sickle cell anemia, acute lead poisoning, etc. Hemoglobin is also a pigment molecule. When oxygen is bound to it, it gives a bright red color. Without oxygen, it appears dark red burgundy in color. Thus, the urine of individuals with hemoglobinuria is purplish in color. The three kinds of hemoglobinuria are as follows: (1) march hemoglobinuria (i.e. secondary to repetitive impacts on the body, usually the feet), (2) paroxysmal cold hemoglobinuria (i.e. autoimmune or postviral disease marked by episodes of hemoglobinemia and hemoglobinuria following exposure to cold), and (3) paroxysmal nocturnal hemoglobinuria (i.e. characterized by episodes of severe hemolysis and thrombosis, particularly of the hepatic veins).1


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Reference(s):
1 Hemoglobinuria. (n.d.) Miller-Keane Encyclopedia and Dictionary of Medicine, Nursing, and Allied Health, Seventh Edition. (2003). Retrieved from [1]

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