Test Catalog

Test ID: G6PD    
Glucose-6-Phosphate Dehydrogenase (G-6-PD), Quantitative, Erythrocytes

Useful For Suggests clinical disorders or settings where the test may be helpful

Evaluation of individuals with Coombs-negative nonspherocytic hemolytic anemia, episodic or chronic


Rapid testing to assess glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase (G6PD) enzyme capacity prior to Rasburicase or other therapies that may cause hemolysis or methemoglobinemia in G6PD deficient patients


May aid in the creation of a comprehensive patient profile and can ensure appropriate patient monitoring for developing anemia

Testing Algorithm Delineates situations when tests are added to the initial order. This includes reflex and additional tests.

The following algorithms are available in Special Instructions:

-Newborn Screen Follow-up for Glucose-6-Phosphate Dehydrogenase (G-6-PD) Deficiency


For more information, see Newborn Screening Act Sheet Glucose-6-Phosphate Dehydrogenase Deficiency in Special Instructions.

Clinical Information Discusses physiology, pathophysiology, and general clinical aspects, as they relate to a laboratory test

Hemolytic disease may be associated with deficiency of erythrocyte enzymes. The most commonly encountered is a deficiency of glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase (G6PD).


The G6PD locus is on the X chromosome, thus, clinically significant G6PD deficiency is an X-linked recessive disorder and most often seen in hemizygous males.(1) Females are most commonly asymptomatic heterozygotes; however, due to the prevalence of the disorder, affected homozygous or compound heterozygous females occur in ethnic groups where prevalence is high. In addition, elderly women heterozygotes can develop deficiency due to differential X-skewing with age.(2) More than 400 molecular variants of G6PD are known, and the clinical and laboratory features of G6PD deficiency vary accordingly.(1,3) With some variants, there is chronic, life-long hemolysis, but much more commonly, the condition is asymptomatic and only results in susceptibility to acute hemolytic episodes, which may be triggered by some medications, ingestion of fava beans, or stressor events including viral or bacterial infections. G6PD deficiency is also associated with neonatal hyperbilirubinemia.


The common G6PD variants occur in specific ethnic groups. Thus, knowledge of the ethnic background of the patient is important. G6PD deficiency has very high frequency in Southeast Asians and is the most common cause of hemolytic disease of the newborn in Southeast Asian neonates. It is also seen in persons of African and Mediterranean descent.


Rasburicase therapy is contraindicated in patients with G6PD deficiency. FDA guidelines state to screen patients at higher risk for G6PD deficiency (eg, patients of African or Mediterranean ancestry) prior to starting therapy.(4)


Deficiency can be assessed by enzymatic and/or genetic assays. Due to limitations of genetic testing, in most cases it is preferential to perform G6PD enzyme testing to assign G6PD status.(5) However, enzyme activity can be affected by recent red blood cell transfusion, marked reticulocytosis and very high white blood cell count. In these settings, genotyping may be useful for correlation with the red blood cell enzyme level.(6)


Due to historic issues with other similar antimalarial medications, it is sometimes questioned if hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) or chloroquine (CQ) therapy may trigger acute hemolytic episodes in some G6PD subtypes. Data is limited in this regard. Available published data did not find hemolytic episodes associated with HCQ therapy in G6PD deficient African American(7) or CQ therapy in G6PD deficient African(8) patients. Both studied populations were assumed to have mild forms of the disorder and data regarding these medications in populations with more severe G6PD phenotypes is lacking. While patients receiving HCQ do not routinely need G6PD levels checked before initiating therapy, testing may be considered in patients who are from ethnic backgrounds with high G6PD variant rates such as those from Mediterranean, African, or Asian descent.

Reference Values Describes reference intervals and additional information for interpretation of test results. May include intervals based on age and sex when appropriate. Intervals are Mayo-derived, unless otherwise designated. If an interpretive report is provided, the reference value field will state this.

> or =12 months: 8.8-13.4 U/g Hb

Reference values have not been established for patients who are <12 months of age.

Interpretation Provides information to assist in interpretation of the test results

The World Health Organization (WHO) classification of glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase (G6PD) deficiency is historically based on enzyme activity level and in most cases enzyme activity level is sufficient. Accurate classification requires correlation with clinical, and in certain cases, genetic data. WHO class I (chronic) and class II (episodic) variants are associated with baseline enzyme levels less than 10% of mean normal.(1,3) Enzyme levels between 10% and 60% of mean normal can be seen in class III (episodic) variants or female carrier states. Enzyme levels greater than 60% are considered sufficient and can be seen in normal persons, female carrier states or G6PD variants with subclinical effect (WHO class IV). Although G6PD deficiency is an X-linked recessive disorder and most often seen in hemizygous males, some females are affected. In addition, elderly women heterozygotes can develop deficiency due to differential X-skewing with age.(2) It is important to note that clinically significant G6PD deficiency can be masked in the setting of significant reticulocytosis, markedly elevated WBC count or recent red blood cell transfusion. If any of these are present in the setting of a history of neonatal, chronic or episodic jaundice or anemia, genotyping for G6PD genetic alterations is recommended. If desired, please order G6PDB / Glucose-6-Phosphate Dehydrogenase (G6PD) Full Gene Sequencing, Varies.

Cautions Discusses conditions that may cause diagnostic confusion, including improper specimen collection and handling, inappropriate test selection, and interfering substances

Clinically significant glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase (G6PD) deficiency can be masked in the setting of significant reticulocytosis, markedly elevated white blood cell count or recent red blood cell transfusion.

Clinical Reference Recommendations for in-depth reading of a clinical nature

1. Cappellini MD, Fiorelli G: Glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase deficiency. Lancet 2008 Jan;371(9606):64-74. doi: 10.1016/S0140-6736(08)60073-2

2. Au WY, Ma ES, Lam VW, et al: 6-phosphate dehydrogenase (G6PD) deficiency in elderly Chinese women heterozygous for G6PD variants. Am J Med Genet A 2004 Aug 30;129A(2):208-211

3. Minucci A, Moradkhani K, Hwang MJ, et al: Glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase (G6PD) mutations database: Review of the “old” and update of the new mutations. Blood Cells Mol Dis 2012 Mar 15;48(3):154-165. doi: 10.1016/j.bcmd.2012.01.001

4. Food and Drug Administration: Accessed 04/08/2020; Available at: www.accessdata.fda.gov/drugsatfda_docs/label/2009/103946s5083lbl.pdf

5. Relling MV, McDonagh EM, Chang T, et al: Clinical Pharmacogenetics Implementation Consortium (CPIC) guidelines for rasburicase therapy in the context of G6PD deficiency genotype. Clin Pharmacol Ther 2014 Aug;96(2):169-174. doi: 10.1038/clpt.2014.97

6. Robinson KM, Yang W, Haider CE, et al: Concordance between glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase (G6PD) genotype and phenotype and rasburicase use in patients with hematologic malignancies. Pharmacogenomics J 2019 June;19(3):305–314. doi:10.1038/s41397-018-0043-3

7. Mohammad S, Clowse MEB, Eudy AM, Criscione-Schreiber LG: Examination of Hydroxychloroquine Use and Hemolytic Anemia in G6PDH-Deficient Patients. Arthritis Care Res (Hoboken). 2018 Mar;70(3):481-485. doi: 10.1002/acr.23296

8. Mandi G, Witte S, Meissner P, et al: Safety of the combination of chloroquine and methylene blue in healthy adult men with G6PD deficiency from rural Burkina Faso. Trop Med Int Health 2005 Jan;10(1):32-38

Special Instructions Library of PDFs including pertinent information and forms related to the test