OverviewThalassemia minor is an inherited form of hemolytic anemia that is less severe than thalassemia major. This blood smear from an individual with thalassemia shows small (microcytic), pale (hypochromic), variously-shaped (poikilocytosis) red blood cells. These small red blood cells (RBCs) are able to carry less oxygen than normal RBCs.
Update Date 2/7/2012
Updated by: Yi-Bin Chen, MD, Leukemia/Bone Marrow Transplant Program, Massachusetts General Hospital. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M. Health Solutions, Ebix, Inc.