Other Known Aliases – alkali denaturation test
Definition – Lab test where the blood sample is hemolyzed using sterile water and centrifuged to produce a hemoglobin supernatent. This is then mixed with 1% NaOH. Fetal hemoglobin will stay pink, while maternal hemoglobin will turn yellow/brown.
Clinical Significance – Helps differentiate maternal from fetal blood in cases of vaginal bleeding or neonatal hematemesis/hematochezia.
History – Given to Dr. Leonard Apt and Dr. William Downey, Jr., who were physicians at Harvard Medical School and Children’s Medical Center in Boston, MA in the mid-1900’s.
- Firkin BG and Whitwirth JA. Dictionary of Medical Eponyms. 2nd ed. New York, NY; Parthenon Publishing Group. 1996.
Yee AJ, Pfiffner P. (2012). Medical Eponyms (Version 1.4.2) [Mobile Application Software]. Retrieved http://itunes.apple.com
Apt L, Downey WS. Melena neonatorum: the swallowed blood syndrome; a simple test for the differentiation of adult and fetal hemoglobin in bloody stools. The Journal of Pediatrics. 47(1):6-12. 1955. [pubmed]