- Electrical impedance
- Light scatter
- Light absorption
- Electrical conductivity.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 29 Jul 2017
|Erroneous increase||Erroneous decrease|
0. All parameters
1. WBC count
2. RBC count
|*: WBCs are counted along with RBCs, but normally their number is statistically insignificant|
- 29 Jul 2017
|Parameters measured by most analyzers||Parameters measured by some analyzers|
|Parameters measured directly or derived through histogram||Parameters measured through calculation|
Among the red cell values generated by the analyzer (red cell count, hemoglobin, hematocrit, MCV, MCH, MCHC, and RDW), most important for decision-making are hemoglobin, hematocrit, and MCV.
- 29 Jul 2017
- Cell size (forward scatter)
- Internal complexity or granularity (side scatter)
- Relative fluorescence intensity.
The light source used in most flow cytometers is laser.
- Leukemias and lympomas: Immunophenotyping (evaluation of cell surface markers), diagnosis, detection of minimal residual disease, and to identify prognostically important subgroups.
- Paroxysmal nocturnal hemoglobinuria: Deficiency of CD 55 and CD 59.
- Hematopoietic stem cell transplantation: Enumeration of CD34+ stem cells.
- Feto-maternal hemorrhage: Detection and quantitation of foetal hemoglobin in maternal blood sample.
- Anemias: Reticulocyte count.
- Human immunodeficiency virus infection: For enumeration of CD4+ lymphocytes.
- Histocompatibility cross matching.
- 28 Jul 2017
- 27 Jul 2017
- Red cells: Morphology, immature forms, inclusion bodies, arrangement of cells.
- White cells: Differential count, abnormal or immature forms.
- Platelets: Adequacy, abnormal forms.
- Parasites: Malaria, filaria.
- 26 Jul 2017
- 26 Jul 2017
- Acute bacterial infections: Abscess, pneumonia, meningitis, septicemia, acute rheumatic fever, urinary tract infection.
- Tissue necrosis: Burns, injury, myocardial infarction.
- Acute blood loss
- Acute hemorrhage
- Myeloproliferative disorders
- Metabolic disorders: Uremia, acidosis, gout
- Malignant tumors
- Physiologic causes: Exercise, labor, pregnancy, emotional stress.
- Severe bacterial infections, e.g. septicemia, pneumonia
- Severe hemorrhage
- Severe acute hemolysis
- Carcinoma metastatic to bone marrow Leukemoid reaction should be differentiated from chronic myeloid leukemia (Table 801.1).
(a) Bacterial: typhoid, paratyphoid, miliary tuberculosis, septicemia
(b) Viral: influenza, measles, rubella, infectious mononucleosis, infective hepatitis.
(c) Protozoal: malaria, kala azar
(d) Overwhelming infection by any organism
- Hematologic disorders: megaloblastic anemia, aplastic anemia, aleukemic leukemia, myelophthisis.
(a) Idiosyncratic action: Analgesics, antibiotics, sulfonamides, phenothiazines, antithyroid drugs, anticonvulsants.
(b) Dose-related: Anticancer drugs
- Ionizing radiation
- Congenital disorders: Kostman's syndrome, cyclic neutropenia, reticular dysgenesis.
- Neonatal isoimmune neutropaenia
- Systemic lupus erythematosus
- Felty's syndrome
- Allergic diseases: Bronchial asthma, rhinitis, urticaria, drugs.
- Skin diseases: Eczema, pemphigus, dermatitis herpetiformis.
- Parasitic infection with tissue invasion: Filariasis, trichinosis, echinococcosis.
- Hematologic disorders: Chronic Myeloproliferative disorders, Hodgkin's disease, peripheral T cell lymphoma.
- Carcinoma with necrosis.
- Radiation therapy.
- Lung diseases: Loeffler's syndrome, tropical eosinophilia
- Hypereosinophilic syndrome.
- Infections: Tuberculosis, subacute bacterial endocarditis, malaria, kala azar.
- Recovery from neutropenia.
- Autoimmune disorders.
- Hematologic diseases: Myeloproliferative disorders, monocytic leukemia, Hodgkin's disease.
- Others: Chronic ulcerative colitis, Crohn's disease, sarcoidosis.
(a) Viral: Acute infectious lymphocytosis, infective hepatitis, cytomegalovirus, mumps, rubella, varicella
(b) Bacterial: Pertussis, tuberculosis
(c) Protozoal: Toxoplasmosis
- Hematological disorders: Acute lymphoblastic leukemia, chronic lymphocytic leukemia, multiple myeloma, lymphoma.
- Other: Serum sickness, post-vaccination, drug reactions.
- 26 Jul 2017
- Polymorphonuclear neutrophil: Neutrophil measures 14-15 μm in size. Its cytoplasm is colorless or lightly eosinophilic and contains multiple, small, fine, mauve granules. Nucleus has 2-5 lobes that are connected by fine chromatin strands. Nuclear chromatin is condensed and stains deep purple in color. A segmented neutrophil has at least 2 lobes connected by a chromatin strand. A band neutrophil shows non-segmented U-shaped nucleus of even width. Normally band neutrophils comprise less than 3% of all leukocytes. Majority of neutrophils have 3 lobes, while less than 5% have 5 lobes. In females, 2-3% of neutrophils show a small projection (called drumstick) on the nuclear lobe. It represents one inactivated X chromosome.
- Eosinophil: Eosinophils are slightly larger than neutrophils (15-16 μm). The nucleus is often bilobed and the cytoplasm is packed with numerous, large, bright orange-red granules. On blood smears, some of the eosinophils are often ruptured.
- Basophils: Basophils are seen rarely on normal smears. They are small (9-12 μm), round to oval cells, which contain very large, coarse, deep purple granules. It is difficult to make out the nucleus since granules cover it.
- Monocytes: Monocyte is the largest of the leukocytes (15-20 μm). It is irregular in shape, with oval or clefted (kidney-shaped) nucleus and fine, delicate chromatin. Cytoplasm is abundant, bluegray with ground glass appearance and often contains fine azurophil granules and vacuoles. After migration to the tissues from blood, they are called as macrophages.
- Lymphocytes: On peripheral blood smear, two types of lymphocytes are distinguished: small and large. The majority of lymphocytes are small (7-8 μm). These cells have a high nuclearcytoplasmic ratio with a thin rim of deep blue cytoplasm. The nucleus is round or slightly clefted with coarsely clumped chromatin. Large lymphocytes (10-15 μm) have a more abundant, pale blue cytoplasm, which may contain a few azurophil granules. Nucleus is oval or round and often placed on one side of the cell.
- Toxic granules: These are darkly staining, bluepurple, coarse granules in the cytoplasm of neutrophils. They are commonly seen in severe bacterial infections.
- Döhle inclusion bodies: These are small, oval, pale blue cytoplasmic inclusions in the periphery of neutrophils. They represent remnants of ribosomes and rough endoplasmic reticulum. They are often associated with toxic granules and are seen in bacterial infections.
- Cytoplasmic vacuoles: Vacuoles in neutrophils are indicative of phagocytosis and are seen in bacterial infections.
- Shift to left of neutrophils: This refers to presence of immature cells of neutrophil series (band forms and metamyelocytes) in peripheral blood and occurs in infections and inflammatory disorders.
- Hypersegmented neutrophils: Hypersegmentation of neutrophils is said to be present when >5% of neutrophils have 5 or more lobes. They are large in size and are also called as macropolycytes. They are seen in folate or vitamin B12 deficiency and represent one of the earliest signs.
- Pelger-Huet cells: In Pelger-Huet anomaly (a benign autosomal dominant condition), there is failure of nuclear segmentation of granulocytes so that nuclei are rod-like, round, or have two segments. Such granulocytes are also observed in myeloproliferative disorders (pseudo-Pelger-Huet cells).
- Atypical lymphocytes: These are seen in viral infections, especially infectious mononucleosis. Atypical lymphocytes are large, irregularly shaped lymphocytes with abundant cytoplasm and irregular nuclei. Cytoplasm shows deep basophilia at the edges and scalloping of borders. Nuclear chromatin is less dense and occasional nucleolus may be present.
- Blast cells: These are most premature of the leukocytes. They are large (15-25 μm), round to oval cells, with high nuclear cytoplasmic ratio. Nucleus shows one or more nucleoli and nuclear chromatin is immature. These cells are seen in severe infections, infiltrative disorders, and leukemia. In leukemia and lymphoma, blood smear suggests the diagnosis or differential diagnosis and helps in ordering further tests (see Figure 800.2 and Box 800.1).
- 25 Jul 2017
- Red cells with abnormal size (see Figure 799.1)
- Red cells with abnormal staining
- Red cells with abnormal shape (see Figure 799.1)
- Red cell inclusions (see Figure 799.2)
- Immature red cells (see Figure799.3)
- Abnormal red cell arrangement(see Figure 799.4).
Macrocytes are red cells larger in size than normal. Oval macrocytes (macro-ovalocytes) are seen in megaloblastic anemia, myelodysplastic syndrome, and in patients being treated with cancer chemotherapy. Round macrocytes are seen in liver disease, alcoholism, and hypothyroidism.
Staining intensity of red cells depends on hemoglobin content. Red cells with increased area of central pallor (i.e. containing less hemoglobin) are called as hypochromic. They are seen when hemoglobin synthesis is defective, i.e. in iron deficiency, thalassemias, anaemia of chronic disease, and sideroblastic anemia.
Basophilic stippling or punctate basophilia refers to the presence of numerous, irregular basophilic (purple-blue) granules which are uniformly distributed in the red cell. These granules represent aggregates of ribosomes. Their presence is indicative of impaired erythropoiesis and they are seen in thalassemias, megaloblastic anemia, heavy metal poisoning (e.g. lead), and liver disease.cell. These granules represent aggregates of ribosomes. Their presence is indicative of impaired erythropoiesis and they are seen in thalassemias, megaloblastic anemia, heavy metal poisoning (e.g. lead), and liver disease.
Pappenheimer bodies are basophilic, small, ironcontaining granules in red cells. They give positive Perl's Prussian blue reaction. Unlike basophilic stippling, Pappenheimer bodies are few in number and are not distributed throughout the red cell. They are seen following splenectomy and in thalassemias and sideroblastic anemia.
Cabot's rings are fine, reddish-purple or red, ring-like structures. They appear like loops or figure of eight structures. They indicate impaired erythropoiesis and are seen in megaloblastic anemia and lead poisoning.
Autoagglutination refers to the clumping of red cells in large, irregular groups on blood smear. It is seen in cold agglutinin disease. Role of blood smear in anemia is shown in Box 799.1 and Figures 799.5 to 799.7.
- 25 Jul 2017
Parts and functions of a compound microscope
(A) Arm: Used to carry the microscope.
- 25 Jul 2017
Kohler illumination is a method of adjusting a microscope in order to provide optimal illumination by focusing the light on the specimen. When a microscope is in Kohler, specimens will appear clearer, and in more detail.
Process of setting Kohler
- Specimen slide (will need tofocus under 10× power)
- Compound microscope.
- Mount the specimen slide onthe stage and focus under 10×.
- Close the iris diaphragm completely.
- If the ball of light is not in the center, use the condenser centering screws to move it so that it is centered.
- Using the condenser adjustment knobs, raise or lower the condenser until the edges of the field becomes sharp (see Figure 797.1 and Figure 797.2).
- Open the iris diaphragm until the entire field is illuminated.
- During regular microscope maintenance
- After the microscope is moved/transported
- Whenever you suspect objects do not appear as sharp as they could be.
COLLECTION OF BLOOD
It is necessary to follow a standard procedure for specimen collection to get the most accurate and trustworthy results of the laboratory test. The blood sample can be collected from the venipuncture or skin puncture for the hematological investigations.
This method is most common and mostly used in infants and small children and if the small amount of blood is required. This method is suitable for the estimation of hemoglobin, cell counts, determination of hematocrit (HCT) or packed cell volume (PCV) by micro method and preparation of blood films. Blood obtained by this method is also called as capillary blood. However, it is the mixture of blood from arterioles, venules, and capillaries. It also contains small amount of tissue fluid. In infants, blood is collected from the heel (the medial or lateral aspect of plantar surface or great toe). In adults, it is collected from the side of a middle or ring finger (distal digit) or from the earlobe. (see Figure 796.1).
The puncture site is cleansed with the 70% ethanol or another suitable disinfectant. After drying, a puncture is made with a sterile, dry, disposable lancet, in deep to allow free flow of blood. The first drop of blood is wiped away with the dry and sterile cotton as it contains tissue fluid. After wiping the first drop of blood, next few drops of blood are collected. Excessive pressing should be avoided, as it may dilute the blood with the tissue fluid. After collection of blood, a piece of dry and sterile cotton is pressed over the puncture site till the bleeding ends. Hemoglobin, red cell count and hematocrit (HCT) or packed cell volume (PCV) are moderately higher in the blood collected from skin puncture, as compared to the venous blood. The reason behind this scenario is that platelets adhere to the puncture site and cause the lower count of platelet, and due to small sample size, instant repeat testing is not possible if the result is abnormal or unusual.
Avoid collecting blood from cold, cyanosed skin since the false elevation of values of red blood cells, white blood cells and hemoglobin will be obtained.
VENOUS BLOOD COLLECTION
Venous blood is obtained when the larger quantity of blood is needed to perform multiple tests. Different test tubes are filled with blood as per requirement of anticoagulant and blood ratio for the test. Anticoagulant is not required for the test performed by the serum.
- The best site for obtaining blood is the veins of antecubital fossa. A rubber tourniquet is applied to the upper arm (see Figure; Common sites of venepuncture in antecubital fossa (red circles)). It should not be too much tight and should not remain in a place for more than 120 seconds. To get veins more palpable and prominent, the patient is asked to make a fist.
- The puncture site is cleansed with the 70% ethanol or other suitable disinfectant and allowed to dry.
- The preferred vein is anchored by squeezing and pulling the soft tissues below the prick site with the left hand.
- Sterile, dry, disposable needles and syringes should be used for the collection of blood. Needle size should be 23-gauge in children and 19- to 21-gauge in adults. Venepuncture is made along with the direction of the vein and with the bevel of the needle up. Blood is withdrawn slowly. Pulling the piston quickly can cause hemolysis and collapse the vein. The tourniquet should be released as soon as the blood begins to flow into the syringe.
- When the required blood is collected, the patient is asked to open his/her fist. The needle is removed from the vein. A sterile alcohol swab is pressed over the puncture site. The patient is asked to press the alcohol swab over the site till the bleeding ends.
- The needle is removed from the syringe and the required amount of blood is carefully transferred into the test tube containing anticoagulant as per requirement of the laboratory test. If the blood is forced through the syringe without removing the needle, hemolysis can occur. Containers may be glass bottles or disposable plastic tubes with corks and flat bottom.
- Blood is mixed with the anticoagulant in the container thoroughly by gently inverting the container several times. The container should not be shaken strenuously as it can cause hemolysis and fizzing.
- Check whether the patient is dizzy and bleeding has stopped. Cover the site of puncture with a sticky bandage strip. Recapping the needle by hand can cause needle-prick injury. After the usage of disposable syringe, needles are crashed by the syringe needle destroyer and the syringe is disposed into the biohazard box. The blood container is labeled properly with the patient’s name, age, gender and the time of collection. The sample should be sent without delay to the laboratory with accompanying properly filled laboratory requisition form.
- The tourniquet should not be too tight and should not be applied for more than 120 seconds as it will cause hemoconcentration and variation of test results.
- The tourniquet should be released before removing the needle from the vein to prevent the formation of a hematoma.
- Blood is never collected from the arm being used for the intravenous line since it will dilute the blood sample.
- Blood is never collected from an area with hematoma and from a sclerosed vein.
- A small bore needle should not be used, blood is withdrawn gradually and the needle is removed from the syringe before transferring blood into the container to avoid hemolysis.
- Proper precautions should be noticed while collecting blood either from a skin or a vein puncture since all blood samples are considered as infectious.
- The anticoagulated blood sample should be tested within 1-2 hours of collection. If this is not possible, the sample can be stored for 24 hours in a refrigerator at 4-6° C. After the sample is taken out of the refrigerator, it should be allowed to return to room temperature, mixed properly, and then laboratory test is performed.
- Failure to obtain blood: This is very common and usually painful for the patient. This happens if the vein is missed, or excessive pull is applied to the piston causing collapse of the vein.
- Formation of hematoma, abscess, thrombosis, thrombophlebitis, or bleeding.
- Transmission of infection like human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) or hepatitis B virus (HBV) if reusable syringes and needles, which are not properly sterilized, are used.
- First tube: Blood culture.
- Second tube: Plain tube (serum).
- Third tube: Tube containing anticoagulant (EDTA, citrate, or heparin).
- Fourth tube: Tube containing additional stabilizing agent like fluoride.
- Plasma contains fibrinogen as well as all the other proteins, while serum does not contain fibrinogen.
- Plasma can be obtained immediately after sample collection by centrifugation, while minimum of 30 minutes are required for separation of serum from the clotted blood.
- Amount of sample is greater with plasma than with serum for a given amount of blood.
- Use of anticoagulant may alter the concentration of some constituents if they are to be measured like sodium, potassium, lithium, etc.
|Dipotassium EDTA||20 gm|
|Distilled water||200 ml|
|Ammonium oxalate||1.2 gm|
|Potassium oxalate||0.8 gm|
|Distilled water||upto 100 ml|
|Trisodium citrate||3.2 gm|
|Distilled water||upto 100 ml|
Use 1:9 (anticoagulant: blood) proportion for coagulation studies; for ESR, 1:4 proportion is recommended.
- 21 Jul 2017
There are two methods for ABO grouping:
- Cell grouping (forward grouping): Red cells are tested for the presence of A and B antigens employing known specific anti-A and anti-B (and sometimes anti-A, B) sera.
- Serum grouping (reverse grouping): Serum is tested for the presence of anti-A and anti-B antibodies by employing known group A and group B reagent red cells.
Both cell and serum grouping should be done since each test acts as a check on the other.
- 21 Jul 2017
- Autoagglutination: Presence of IgM autoantibodies reactive at room temperature in patient’s serum can lead to autoagglutination. If autocontrol is not used, blood group in such a case will be wrongly typed as AB. Therefore, for correct result, if autocontrol is also showing agglutination, cell grouping should be repeated after washing red cells with warm saline, and serum grouping should be repeated at 37°C.
- Rouleaux formation: Rouleux formation refers to red cells adhering to each other like a stack of coins and can be mistaken for agglutination. Rouleaux formation is caused by high levels of fibrinogen, immunoglobulins, or intravenous administration of a plasma expander such as dextran. Rouleaux formation (but not agglutination) can be dispersed by addition of normal saline during serum grouping.
- False-negative result due to inactivated antisera: For preservation of potency of antisera, they should be kept stored at 4°-6°C. If kept at room temperature for long, antisera are inactivated and will give false-negative result.
- Age: Infants start producing ABO antibodies by 3-6 months of age and serum grouping done before this age will yield false-negative result. Elderly individuals also have low antibody levels.
- 21 Jul 2017
- 21 Jul 2017
- 19 Jul 2017
- A clean and dry glass slide is divided into two sections with a glass marking pencil. The sections are labeled as anti-A and anti-B to identify the antisera (see Figure 786.2).
- Place one drop of anti-A serum and one drop of anti-B serum in the center of the corresponding section of the slide. Antiserum must be taken first to ensure that no reagents are missed.
- Add one drop of blood sample to be tested to each drop of antiserum.
- Mix antiserum and blood by using a separate stick or a separate corner of a slide for each section over an area about 1 inch in diameter.
- By tilting the slide backwards and forwards, examine for agglutination after exactly two minutes.
Positive (+): Little clumps of red cells are seen floating in a clear liquid.
Negative (–): Red cells are floating homogeneously in a uniform suspension.
- Interpretation: Interpret the result as shown in the Table 786.1 and Figure 786.2.
- 19 Jul 2017
Separate tubes of auto-control, positive control, and negative control should always be setup along with the test sample tube. Auto-control tube consists of mixture of patient’s red cells and patient’s own serum. This is required to rule out false-positive result due to auto antibodies in patient’s serum causing auto agglutination of patient’s own red cells. Auto-control test is particularly essential when ABO grouping is being done only by forward method and blood group is typed as AB. If there are auto antibodies in recipient’s serum, ABO grouping, Rh typing, antibody screening, and cross matching all will show positive result.
If forward grouping, reverse grouping, and autocontrol tests are all positive, then these results are probably indicative of a cold-reactive autoantibody. Before performing forward typing, red cells should be washed with normal saline to elute the antibody. Before performing reverse grouping, autoantibody should be adsorbed by washed cells till autocontrol is negative.
- 19 Jul 2017
- Scan the slide in a methodical grid pattern, in order not to cover the same area twice. Counts can be completed quickly under 400×magnification, but if you are also evaluating morphology, 1000×magnification should be used.
- Count a minimum of 100 WBCs.
- 18 Jul 2017
- Manual or microscopic method
- Automated method
Hemocytometer with cover glass, compound microscope.
HgCl2 0.05 gm
NaSO4 2.5 gm
NaCl 0.5 gm
Distilled water 100 ml
- Wipe finger with cotton soaked with alcohol, with a sterile lancet do small prick on the finger tip. Use pipette. Aspirate blood to 0.5.
- Aspirate diluting Hayem’s solution to the 101 mark. It will give 1:200 dilution of the blood.
- Hold the pipette horizontally and role it with both hands between finger and thumb.
- Place the counting chamber, absolutely free from dust and grease, on the table and lay the cover glass in place over the ruled area.
- Discard the first two or three drops from the pipette. Charge the counting chamber by holding the pipette in an inclined position. Allow 3 minutes for the cells to settle.
- Locate the central square, which is divided into 25 medium sized squares. Each of the medium sized squares is further divided into 16 smallest squares.
- Count the erythrocytes in medium sized squares (80 smallest squares) using high power objective.
- In order to avoid confusion in counting, count all cells wihich touch the upper and left outer double line of the group of 16 squares as if they were inside the square. Neglect all those cells, which touch the lower and right inner line.
= 1/5 sq mm
= 1/5 sqmm x 1/10 mm
= 1/50 cu mm
(1) Increased in numbers of RBC called polycythemia it is due to
• Bone marrow failure
• Erythropoietin deficiency (2ndry to kidney disease)
• Hemolysis (RBC destruction) from transfusion reaction
• Multiple myloma
• Nutritional deficiencies of (Iron, Copper, Folate, Vit B12, B6)
• Newborns: 4.8-7.2 millions
• Children: 3.8-5.5 millions
• Adult ( male): 4.6-6.0 millions
• Adult (Females): 4.2-5.0 millions
• Pregnancy: slightly lower than normal
- Brown, B.A., Haemotology, Principles and Procedures, Lea & Febiger, U.S.A., 1976.
- Hoffbrand, A. V. and Pettit, 1. E., Essential Haemotology, Blackwell Scientific Publication, U.S.A., 1980.
- Kassirsky, I. and Alexeev, G., Clinical Haemotology, Mir Publishers, U.S.S.R., 1972.
- Widmann, F.K., Clinical interpretation of Laboratory tests, F.A. Davis Company, U.S.A., 1985.
- Kirk, C.J.C. et al, Basic Medical Laboratory Technology, Pitman Book Ltd., U.K. 1982.
- Green, J.H., An Introduction to human Physiology, Oxford University Press, U.K., 1980.
Anticoagulated whole blood is centrifuged in a capillary tube of uniform bore to pack the red cells. Centrifugation is done in a special microhematocrit centrifuge till packing of red cells is as complete as possible. The reading (length of packed red cells and total length of the column) is taken using a microhematocrit reader, a ruler, or arithmetic graph paper.
- Microhematocrit centrifuge: It should provide relative centrifugal force of 12000 g for 5 minutes.
- Capillary hematocrit tubes: These are disposable glass tubes 75 mm in length and 1 mm in internal diameter. They are of two types: plain (containing no anticoagulant) and heparinised (coated with a dried film of 2 units of heparin). For plain tubes, anticoagulated venous blood is needed. Heparinised tubes are used for blood obtained from skin puncture.
- Tube sealant like plastic sealant or modeling clay; if not available, a spirit lamp for heat sealing.
- Microhematocrit reader; if not available, a ruler or arithmetic graph paper.
Venous blood collected in EDTA (dipotassium salt) for plain tubes or blood from skin puncture collected directly in heparinised tubes. Venous blood should be collected with minimal stasis to avoid hemoconcentration and false rise in PCV.
- Fill the capillary tube by applying its tip to the blood (either from skin puncture or anticoagulated venous blood, depending on the type of tube used). About 2/3rds to 3/4ths length of the capillary tube should be filled with blood.
- Seal the other end of the capillary tube (which was not in contact with blood) with a plastic sealant. If it is not available, heatseal the tube using a spirit lamp.
- The filled tubes are placed in the radial grooves of the centrifuge with the sealed ends toward the outer rim gasket. Counterbalance by placing the tubes in the grooves opposite to each other.
- Centrifuge at relative centrifu-gal force 12000 g for 5 minutes to completely pack the red cells.
- Immediately remove the tubes from the centrifuge and stand them upright. The tube will show three layers from top to bottom: column of plasma, thin layer of buffy coat, and column of red cells.
- With the microhematocrit reader, hematocrit is directly read from the scale. If hematocrit reader is not available, the tube is held against a ruler and the hematocrit is obtained by the following formula:
Length of total column in mm
To obtain PCV, the above result is multiplied by 100.
- Prolonged application of tourniquet during venepuncture causes hemoconcentration and rise in hematocrit.
- Excess squeezing of the finger during skin puncture dilutes the sample with tissue fluid and lowers the hematocrit.
- Correct proportion of blood with anticoagulant should be used. Excess EDTA causes shrinkage of red cells and falsely lowers the hematocrit.
- Inadequate mixing of blood with anticoagulant, and inadequate mixing of blood before testing can cause false results.
- Low hematocrit can result if there are clots in the sample.
- Centrifugation at lower speed and for less time falsely increases PCV.
- A small amount of plasma is trapped in the lower part of the red cell column which is usually insignificant. Increased amount of plasma is trapped in microcytosis, macrocytosis, spherocytosis, and sickle cell anemia, which cause an artifactual rise in hematocrit. Larger volume of plasma is trapped in Wintrobe tube than in capillary tube.
- As PCV requires whole blood sample, it is affected by plasma volume (e.g. PCV is higher in dehydration, and lower in fluid overload).
- Expression of PCV: Occasionally, PCV is expressed as a percentage. In SI units, PCV is expressed as a volume fraction. Conversion factor from conventional to SI units is 0.1 and from SI to conventional units is 100.
- Rules of 3 and 9: These rules of thumb are commonly used to check the accuracy of results and are applicable only if red cells are of normal size and shape.
• Hemoglobin (gm/dl) × 3 = PCV
• Red cell count (million/cmm) × 9 = PCV
- Automated hematocrit: In automated hematology analyzers, hematocrit is obtained by multiplying red cell count (in millions/cmm) by mean cell volume (in femtoliters).
- Adult males: 40-50%
- Adult females (nonpregnant): 38 45%
- Adult females (pregnant): 36-42%
- Children 6 to 12 years: 37-46%
- Children 6 months to 6 years: 36 42%
- Infants 2 to 6 months: 32-42%
- Newborns: 44-60%
- Packed cell volume: < 20% or > 60%
Anticoagulated whole blood is centrifuged in a Wintrobe tube to completely pack the red cells. The volume of packed red cells is read directly from the tube. An advantage with this method is that before performing PCV, test for erythrocyte sedimentation rate can be set up.
- Wintrobe tube: This tube is about 110 mm in length and has 100 markings, each at the interval of 1 mm. Internal diameter is 3 mm. It can hold about 3 ml of blood.
- Pasteur pipette with a rubber bulb and a sufficient length of capillary to reach the bottom of the Wintrobe tube.
- Centrifuge with a speed of 2300 g.
Venous blood collected in EDTA (1.5 mg EDTA for 1 ml of blood) or in double oxalate. Test should be performed within 6 hours of collection.
- Mix the anticoagulated blood sample thoroughly.
- Draw the blood sample in a Pasteur pipette and introduce the pipette up to the bottom of the Wintrobe tube. Fill the tube from the bottom exactly up to the 100 mark. During filling, tip of the pipette is raised, but should remain under the rising meniscus to avoid foaming.
- Centrifuge the sample at 2300 g for 30 min (To counterbalance a second Wintrobe tube filled with blood from another patient or water should be placed in the centrifuge).
- Take the reading of the length of the column of red cells.
Hematocrit can be expressed either as a percentage or as a fraction of the total volume of blood sample.
After centrifugation of anticoagulated whole blood, three zones can be distinguished in the Wintrobe tube from above downwards-plasma, buffy coat layer (a small greyish layer of white cells and platelets, about 1 mm thick), and packed red cells. Normal plasma is straw-colored. It is colorless in iron deficiency anemia, pink in the presence of hemolysis or hemoglobinemia, and yellow if serum bilirubin is raised (jaundice). In hypertriglyceridemia, plasma appears milky. Increased thickness of buffy coat layer occur if white cells or platelets are increased in number (e.g. in leukocytosis, thrombocytosis, or leukemia). Smears can be made from the buffy coat layer for demonstration of lupus erythematosus (LE) cells, malaria parasites, or immature cells.