If one day, with the best of luck, you meet someone with green blood … don’t panic! This person is not necessarily an alien! Indeed, imagine if there was a very rare blood disease that turns the red color of blood into … green. We tell you everything!
Sulfhemoglobinemia is the name of this famous disease that turns your blood into something green worthy of sci-fi movies! This is a very rare blood pathology: it is characterized by the presence of an excess of “SulfHb” (a hemoglobin derivative) in the blood.
Ever heard of “sulfhemoglobinemia”?
This excess causes discoloration of the skin and mucous membranes (which then turn bluish or even greenish). But what makes sulfhemoglobinemia so special is, above all, its astonishing effect on our vital fluid: it actually becomes completely green! But really dark green, you look like the alien blood we see in the movies …
Is it serious
Sulfhemoglobinemia is not serious per se. Yes, your blood will turn green, but you won’t die from it. In general, this strange color of blood doesn’t last, it goes away on its own when the red blood cells are renewed. Be aware, however, that in extreme cases, a blood transfusion may be required, even if it has never been done before.
Sulfhemoglobinemia is a very rare blood disorder characterized by an excess of sulfhemoglobin. The person’s blood turns green. Photo credit: DR
But what exactly causes sulfhemoglobinemia? Well, it turns out that the phenomenon occurs after an overdose (hence overdose) of certain drugs: we can especially mention sumatriptan (prescribed for migraines), sulfasalazine (an anti-inflammatory agent), phenazopyridine2 (an analgesic) or sulfonamide antibiotics. In either case, the presence of too many compounds of these drugs in hemoglobin causes a chemical reaction that turns the blood into a green substance.
An amazing case, taken in Vancouver
Sulfhemoglobinemia is such a rare disease that some doctors don’t even know it exists. So imagine the panic in a Vancouver hospital in 2005 when a medical team came across such a case during an operation! In an article published in The Lancet, doctors reported the shock when they saw dark green blood flow from their patients’ arteries.
They immediately sent a sample to the laboratory for analysis and discovered the presence of sulfur atoms in the hemoglobin protein … Yes, not copper like Mr. Spock’s from the stroke!
Finally, note that some divers have also noticed that the blood could also take on a greenish tint at a depth of a few meters … An optical phenomenon explained by the wavelengths of the white light absorbed by the water … you don’t think so ? If not, do you have “blood in gold”? The rarest blood group in the world!