What is Hereditary Spherocytosis (HS)?
Hereditary Spherocytosis or HS is a red blood cell disorder where the cells take on a shape of a ball (or sphere) instead of the normal shape of a red cell (which looks like a ‘doughnut)’. Because the red cells are in the shape of a ball they are more fragile than normal red cells. The fragile red cells can break down which is also known as red cell haemolysis and cause anaemia.
What causes Hereditary Spherocytosis?
Hereditary Spherocytosis is caused by an abnormal protein on the surface of the red cells. It is a genetic disorder so there is usually a family history of HS; HS is usually passed on from one parent to their children.
How common is Hereditary Spherocytosis?
HS is relatively common – around 1 person in every 5000 people has HS (around 800 people in Melbourne; population 4 million).