Skip Navigation LinksCore Service > Lab Test Directory > Haematology > Details

Core Services Test Directory

Go to all departments

Heinz Bodies


Heinz Bodies
Click here to magnify the image.

Reference Range:

Results are reported as Heinz bodies present or absent

Turnaround Time:

Heinz Bodies


In man the finding of Heinz bodies is a sign of either chemical poisoning, drug intoxication, G6PD deficiency or the presence of unstable haemoglobin. When of chemical or drug origin, Heinz bodies are likely to be visible in red cells only if the patient has been splenectomized previously or when massive doses of the chemical or drug have been taken. When due to an unstable haemoglobin they seem never to be visible except after splenectomy. They nevertheless develop in vitro when pre-splenectomy blood is incubated for 24-48 hours. Heinz bodies are a late sign of oxidative damage and represent an end-product of the degradation of Hb. Heinz bodies are seen in stained preparations as intensely stained purple bodies varying in size from 1-3 ?m. One or more may be present in a red cell, usually close to the cell membrane.


Freshly drawn EDTA sample is suitable for this procedure

Vessels and Containers:

1x4.5ml EDTA (PurpleTop)

Sample Requirements:

Freshly drawn EDTA sample is suitable for this procedure


The spleen has the capacity to remove Heinz bodies from cells as it removes other inclusion bodies, so the inability to detect Heinz bodies does not necessarily prove their absence in vivo.

How result is reported:

Results are reported as Heinz bodies present or absent.Positive results should be referred to Consultant Haematologist for interpretative reporting.

Transportation and Handling:

Samples should be received in the laboratory within 12hours of sampling