Hematology analyzers are equipment used to perform complete blood counts, or hemograms. They carry out quantitative and qualitative analyzes of blood elements: red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelets. They are mainly used in medical biology analysis laboratories or in hospitals with hematology services.
What measurement technologies do hematology analyzers use?
It is important to know the counting technology used by the device, since the results may vary depending on one or the other:
- Flow cytometry: it is the most sophisticated and expensive method that exists today. The cells pass through a narrow tube onto which a laser beam is projected. The light falls on the cells and a detection device captures its reflection. In this case, we speak of laser flow cytometry. There is also fluorescence flow cytometry, which works on the same principle as laser flow cytometry, except for the type of detection. Flow cytometry allows you to analyze the shape of cells and their internal and external structure.
- Electrical impedance: This technique is used to determine the number and volume of erythrocytes and thrombocytes. EDTA blood is diluted with an isotonic solution within the device and aspirated through a capillary hole. The cells go through an electrical voltage field one by one where they induce a pulse – an increase in electrical resistance – depending on their size. This allows you to count the cells and differentiate the largest from the smallest.
- Laser diffraction: measures the particle size distribution. The angular variation of the intensity of diffuse light is measured when a laser beam passes through a sample of scattered particles. Large particles scatter light at a reduced angle to the laser beam, while small particles scatter light at higher angles. In this way, it is possible to calculate the size of the particles that have created the diffraction image.
How can the performance of a hematology analyzer be evaluated?
The number of parameters that the device can supply. That is, all the types of data that the device can provide regarding the elements measured: for example, the rate of each element, its volume, concentration. Depending on each hematology analyzer, from nine to more than fifty parameters can be supplied.
Leukocyte differentiation. Leukocytes (white blood cells) can be divided into three families: lymphocytes, monocytes, and granulocytes. Granulocytes can also be classified into three groups: basophilic granulocytes, eosinophilic granulocytes, and neutrophilic granulocytes.
What are the advantages of a hematology analyzer?
- The speed, as it is generally an automated analysis process. This reduces or even eliminates the need for manual intervention.
- The precision of the results and, consequently, better cell differentiation.
- Versatility, thanks to a range of measurement parameters.