Heinz Body Stain

Norm of Heinz Body Stain

G6PD deficiency, Heinz body anemia, hemolytic anemia, homozygous beta-thalassemia, and after splenectomy. Drugs include acetanilid, aminosalicylic acid, analgesics, aniline, antipyretics, chlorates, hydroxylamine, naphthalene, nitrobenzene, phenol derivatives, phenylhydrazine, phenothiazines, phenylsemicarbazide, pyridine, resorcin, salicylazosulfidine, sodium sulfoxone, sulfapyridine, sulfones, tolbutamide, and large doses of vitamin K.
No Heinz body identified.


Description of Heinz Body Stain

Heinz bodies are small, irregular particles of denatured hemoglobin within mature red blood cells. These appear when stained with methyl violet or cresyl blue but not under Wright-stained preparations. The presence of Heinz bodies in a stained specimen indicates an abnormal hemoglobin structure.


Professional Considerations of Heinz Body Stain

Consent form NOT required.

  1. Tube: Lavender topped.
  2. Contact the laboratory to arrange for testing.



  1. Draw a 3.5-mL blood sample.
  2. Invert the tube gently several times to adequately mix the sample and the anticoagulant.


Postprocedure Care

  1. Refrigerate the specimen.
  2. Current administration of antimalarials, furazolidone, nitrofurantoin, phenacetin, procarbazine, or sulfonamides should be noted on the laboratory requisition.


Client and Family Teaching

  1. Results are normally available within 24–48 hours.


Factors That Affect Results

  1. Hemolysis or clotting of the specimen invalidates the results.
  2. Antimalarials, furazolidone (in infants), nitrofurantoin, phenacetin, procarbazine, and sulfonamides can cause false-positive results.


Other Data

  1. Heinz bodies per cell vary from 1 to 20.
  2. G6PD deficiency often affects Dutch, German, or French individuals.