Methemoglobinemia is a blood disorder in which an abnormal amount of methemoglobin, a form of hemoglobin, is produced. Hemoglobin is the protein in red blood cells that carries and distributes oxygen to the body. With methemoglobinemia, the hemoglobin can carry oxygen but is unable to release it effectively to body tissues. Symptoms of methemoglobinemia include:
• Bluish coloring of the skin
• Shortness of breath
• Lack of energy
HOW IS METHEMOGLOBINEMIA DIAGNOSED?
The diagnosis is done by collecting arterial blood samples, which is usually a characteristic chocolate-brown colour instead of the usual red.
HOW IS METHEMOGLOBINEMIA TREATED?
Treatment of Methemoglobinemia is carried out through oxygen supplementation and by administering methylene blue solution intravenously. Genetically induced Methemoglobinemia can be treated by daily dosage of methylene blue.
DID YOU KNOW?
When methemoglobin concentration is elevated in red blood cells, tissue hypoxia can occur.