AUTOMATED HEMOTOLOGY ANALYZER
Automation is a process of replacement of tasks hitherto performed by humans by computerized methods.
Until recently, hematological tests were performed only by manual methods. These methods, though still performed in many peripheral laboratories, are laborintensive, and involve use of hemocytometers (counting chambers), centrifuges, Wintrobe tubes, photometers, and stained blood smears. Hematology cell analyzers can generate the blood test results rapidly and also perform additional tests not possible by manual technology.
Both manual and automated laboratory techniques have advantages and disadvantages, and it is unlikely that one will completely replace the other.
Advantages of Automated Hematology Analyzer
- Speed with efficient handling of a large number of samples.
- Accuracy and precision in quantitative blood tests.
- Ability to perform multiple tests on a single platform.
- Significant reduction of labor requirements.
- Invaluable for accurate determination of red cell indices.
Disadvantages of Automated Hematology Analyzer
- Flags: Flagging of a laboratory test result demands labour-intensive manual examination of a blood smear.
- Comments on red cell morphology cannot be generated. Abnormal red cell shapes (such as fragmented cells) cannot be recognized.
- Erroneously increased or decreased results due to interfering factors.
- Expensive with high running costs.
Automated hematology analyzers are of two main types:
- Semi-automated: Some steps like dilution of blood sample are performed by the technologist; can measure only a few parameters.
- Fully automated: Require only anticoagulated blood sample; measure multiple parameters.