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Ham test

The Ham test is a blood test to diagnose paroxysmal nocturnal hemoglobinuria (PNH). This rare condition causes red blood cells to die before they should. The Ham test checks whether red blood cells become more fragile when they are placed in mild acid.

Today, the Ham test is being replaced by a test called flow cytometry.

Alternative Names

Acid hemolysin test; Paroxysmal nocturnal hemoglobinuria - Ham test; PNH - Ham test


Brodsky RA. Paroxysmal nocturnal hemoglobinuria. In: Hoffman R, Benz EJ Jr, Silberstein LE, Heslop HE, Weitz JI, Anastasi J, eds. Hematology: Basic Principles and Practice. 6th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2013:chap 29.

Chernecky CC, Berger BJ. In: Chernecky CC, Berger BJ, eds. Laboratory Tests and Diagnostic Procedures. 6th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2013:chap H.

Review Date 2/11/2016

Updated by: Todd Gersten, MD, Hematology/Oncology, Florida Cancer Specialists & Research Institute, Wellington, FL. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Isla Ogilvie, PhD, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.

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