NUMERICAL ABNORMALITIES OF LEUKOCYTES

Published in Hemotology
Wednesday, 26 July 2017 16:28
For meaningful interpretation, absolute count of leukocytes should be reported. These are obtained as follows:
 
Absolute Leukocyte Count = Leukocyte% × Total Leukocyte Count/ml
 
 
Neutrophilia:
 
An absolute neutrophil count greater than 7500/μl is termed as neutrophilia or neutrophilic leukocytosis.
 
Causes
 
  1. Acute bacterial infections: Abscess, pneumonia, meningitis, septicemia, acute rheumatic fever, urinary tract infection.
  2. Tissue necrosis: Burns, injury, myocardial infarction.
  3. Acute blood loss
  4. Acute hemorrhage
  5. Myeloproliferative disorders
  6. Metabolic disorders: Uremia, acidosis, gout
  7. Poisoning
  8. Malignant tumors
  9. Physiologic causes: Exercise, labor, pregnancy, emotional stress.
 
Leukemoid reaction: This refers to the presence of markedly increased total leukocyte count (>50,000/cmm) with immature cells in peripheral blood resembling leukaemia but occurring in non-leukemic disorders (see Figure 801.2). Its causes are:
 
  • Severe bacterial infections, e.g. septicemia, pneumonia
  • Severe hemorrhage
  • Severe acute hemolysis
  • Poisoning
  • Burns
  • Carcinoma metastatic to bone marrow Leukemoid reaction should be differentiated from chronic myeloid leukemia (Table 801.1).
 
Table 801.1 Differences between leukemoid reaction and leukemia
Table 801.1 Differences between leukemoid reaction and leukemia
 
Figure 801.2 Leukemoid reaction in blood smear
Figure 801.2 Leukemoid reaction in blood smear
 
 
Absolute neutrophil count less than 2000/μl is neutropenia. It is graded as mild (2000-1000/μl), moderate (1000-500/μl), and severe (< 500/μl).
 
Causes
 
I. Decreased or ineffective production in bone marrow:
 
  1. Infections 
    (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
  2. Hematologic disorders: megaloblastic anemia, aplastic anemia, aleukemic leukemia, myelophthisis.
  3. Drugs:
    (a) Idiosyncratic action: Analgesics, antibiotics, sulfonamides, phenothiazines, antithyroid drugs, anticonvulsants.
    (b) Dose-related: Anticancer drugs
  4. Ionizing radiation
  5. Congenital disorders: Kostman's syndrome, cyclic neutropenia, reticular dysgenesis.
 
II. Increased destruction in peripheral blood:
 
  1. Neonatal isoimmune neutropaenia
  2. Systemic lupus erythematosus
  3. Felty's syndrome
 
III. Increased sequestration in spleen:
 
  1. Hypersplenism
 
Eosinophilia:
 
This refers to absolute eosinophil count greater than 600/μl.
 
Causes
 
  1. Allergic diseases: Bronchial asthma, rhinitis, urticaria, drugs.
  2. Skin diseases: Eczema, pemphigus, dermatitis herpetiformis.
  3. Parasitic infection with tissue invasion: Filariasis, trichinosis, echinococcosis.
  4. Hematologic disorders: Chronic Myeloproliferative disorders, Hodgkin's disease, peripheral T cell lymphoma.
  5. Carcinoma with necrosis.
  6. Radiation therapy.
  7. Lung diseases: Loeffler's syndrome, tropical eosinophilia
  8. Hypereosinophilic syndrome.
 
Basophilia:
 
Increased numbers of basophils in blood (>100/μl) occurs in chronic myeloid leukemia, polycythemia vera, idiopathic myelofibrosis, basophilic leukemia, myxedema, and hypersensitivity to food or drugs.
 
Monocytosis:
 
This is an increase in the absolute monocyte count above 1000/μl.
 
Causes
 
  1. Infections: Tuberculosis, subacute bacterial endocarditis, malaria, kala azar.
  2. Recovery from neutropenia.
  3. Autoimmune disorders.
  4. Hematologic diseases: Myeloproliferative disorders, monocytic leukemia, Hodgkin's disease.
  5. Others: Chronic ulcerative colitis, Crohn's disease, sarcoidosis.
 
Lymphocytosis:
 
Box 801.1 Differential diagnosis of LymphocytosisThis is an increase in absolute lymphocyte count above upper limit of normal for age (4000/μl in adults, >7200/μl in adolescents, >9000/μl in children and infants) (Box 801.1).
 
Causes
 
  1. Infections: 
    (a) Viral: Acute infectious lymphocytosis, infective hepatitis, cytomegalovirus, mumps, rubella, varicella
    (b) Bacterial: Pertussis, tuberculosis
    (c) Protozoal: Toxoplasmosis
  2. Hematological disorders: Acute lymphoblastic leukemia, chronic lymphocytic leukemia, multiple myeloma, lymphoma.
  3. Other: Serum sickness, post-vaccination, drug reactions.

WHITE BLOOD CELLS MORPHOLOGY

Published in Hemotology
Wednesday, 26 July 2017 13:33
Approximate idea about total leukocyte count can be gained from the examination of the smear under high power objective (40× or 45×). A differential leukocyte count should be carried out. Abnormal appearing white cells are evaluated under oil-immersion objective.
 
Morphology of normal leukocytes (see Figure 800.1):
 
  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
 
Figure 800.1 Normal mature white blood cells in peripheral blood
Figure 800.1 Normal mature white blood cells in peripheral blood
 
Morphology of abnormal leukocytes:
 
  1. Box 800.1 Role of blood smear in leukemiaToxic granules: These are darkly staining, bluepurple, coarse granules in the cytoplasm of neutrophils. They are commonly seen in severe bacterial infections.
  2. 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.
  3. Cytoplasmic vacuoles: Vacuoles in neutrophils are indicative of phagocytosis and are seen in bacterial infections.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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).
  7. 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.
  8. 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).
 
Figure 800.2 Morphological abnormalities of white blood cells
Figure 800.2 Morphological abnormalities of white blood cells: (A) Toxic granules; (B) Döhle inclusion body; (C) Shift to left in neutrophil series; (D) Hypersegmented neutrophil in megaloblastic anemia; (E) Atypical lymphocyte in infectious mononucleosis; (F) Blast cell in acute leukemia
 
Further Reading:
 

KOHLER ILLUMINATION

Published in Microbiology
Tuesday, 25 July 2017 13:43
What is Kohler illumination?

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
 
Materials required
 
  • Specimen slide (will need tofocus under 10× power)
  • Compound microscope.
 
Kohler illumination
 
  1. Mount the specimen slide onthe stage and focus under 10×.
  2. Close the iris diaphragm completely.
  3. If the ball of light is not in the center, use the condenser centering screws to move it so that it is centered.
  4. 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).
  5. Open the iris diaphragm until the entire field is illuminated.
 
Note the blurry edges of the unfocused light
Figure 797.1 Note the blurry edges of the unfocused light
 
Adjusting the condenser height sharpens the edges of the ball of light
Figure 797.2 Adjusting the condenser height sharpens the edges of the “ball of light.”
 
When should you set/check Kohler?
 
  • During regular microscope maintenance
  • After the microscope is moved/transported
  • Whenever you suspect objects do not appear as sharp as they could be.
 
Further Reading:
 

PROCEDURES FOR THE COLLECTION OF BLOOD FOR HEMOTOLOGICAL INVESTIGATIONS

Published in Hemotology
Monday, 24 July 2017 10:21
COLLECTION OF BLOOD
 
For reliable and accurate results of laboratory tests, it is essential to follow a standard procedure for specimen collection. For hematological investigations, blood sample can be obtained from the skin puncture or venepuncture.
 
SKIN PUNCTURE

This method is commonly used in infants and small children and if the amount of blood required is small. It is suitable for cell counts, estimation of hemoglobin, determination of hematocrit by micro method, and preparation of blood films. Blood obtained by skin puncture is also called as capillary blood. However, it is a mixture of blood from capillaries, venules, and arterioles. It also contains some tissue fluid. In adults, blood is obtained from the side of a ring or middle finger (distal digit) or ear lobe. In infants, it is collected from the heel (lateral or medial aspect of plantar surface) or great toe (see Figure 796.1).
 
A. Blood lancet and sites of B. finger puncture cross and C. heel puncture shaded areas
Figure 796.1 (A) Blood lancet and sites of (B) finger puncture (cross) and (C) heel puncture (shaded areas)

The puncture site is cleansed with 70% ethanol or other suitable disinfectant. After drying, a puncture, sufficiently deep to allow free flow of blood, is made with a sterile, dry, disposable lancet. The first drop of blood is wiped away with sterile, dry cotton as it contains tissue fluid. Next few drops of blood are collected. Excessive squeezing should be avoided, as it will dilute the blood with tissue fluid. After collection a piece of sterile cotton is pressed over the puncture site till bleeding ceases. As compared to the venous blood, hemoglobin, hematocrit, and red cell count are slightly higher in blood from skin puncture. As platelets adhere to the puncture site, platelet count is lower. Because of small sample size, immediate repeat testing is not possible if the result is abnormal. Blood should not be collected from cold, cyanosed skin since false elevation of values of hemoglobin and red/white cell counts will be obtained.

VENOUS BLOOD COLLECTION

When multiple tests are to be done and larger quantity of blood is needed, anticoagulated venous blood should be obtained.

Method
 
  1. Common sites of venepuncture in antecubital fossaDue to the ease of access, blood is best obtained from the veins of the antecubital fossa (see Figure; Common sites of venepuncture in antecubital fossa (red circles)). A rubber tourniquet (18 inches long × 3/4 or 1 inch in adults and 12 inches × 1/8 inch in children) is applied to the upper arm. It should not be too tight and should not remain in place for more than two minutes. Patient is asked to make a fist so that veins become more prominent and palpable.
  2. Venepuncture site is cleansed with 70% ethanol and allowed to dry.
  3. The selected vein is anchored by compressing and pulling the soft tissues below the puncture site with the left hand.
  4. Sterile, disposable needles and syringes should be used for venepuncture. Needle size should be 19- to 21-gauge in adults and 23-gauge in children. Venepuncture is performed with the bevel of the needle up and along the direction of the vein. Blood is withdrawn slowly. Pulling the plunger quickly can cause hemolysis and collapse of the vein. Tourniquet should be released as soon as the blood begins to flow into the syringe.
  5. When the required amount of blood is withdrawn, the patient is asked to open his/her fist. The needle is withdrawn from the vein. A sterile cotton gauze is pressed over the puncture site. Patient is asked to press the gauze over the site till bleeding stops.
  6. The needle is detached from the syringe and the required amount of blood is carefully delivered into the tube containing appropriate anticoagulant (see later). If the blood is forced through the needle without detaching it, hemolysis can occur. Containers may be glass bottles or disposable plastic tubes with caps and flat bottom.
  7. Blood is mixed with the anticoagulant in the container thoroughly by gently inverting the container several times. The container should not be shaken vigorously as it can cause frothing and hemolysis.
    Check whether the patient is feeling faint and bleeding has stopped. Cover the puncture site with an adhesive bandage strip. After use, disposable needles should be placed in a puncture-proof container for proper disposal. Recapping of needle by hand can cause needle-stick injury. The container is labeled. Time of collection should be noted on the label. Sample should be sent immediately to the laboratory with accompanying properly filled order form.
 
Precautions
 
  1. Blood is never collected from an intravenous line or from the arm being used for intravenous line (since it will dilute the blood sample). Blood is not collected from a sclerosed vein and from an area with hematoma.
  2. Tourniquet should not be too tight and should not be applied for more than 2 minutes as it will cause hemoconcentration and alteration of test results.
  3. Puncture site should be allowed to dry completely after cleaning with alcohol (before performing the venepuncture).
  4. Tourniquet should be released before removing the needle from the vein (to prevent hematoma formation).
  5. To avoid hemolysis, blood is withdrawn gradually, a small-bore needle should not be used, and the needle is detached from the syringe before dispensing blood into the container.
  6. All blood samples are considered as infectious and proper precautions should be observed while collecting blood either from a vein or a skin puncture. Anticoagulated blood sample should be tested within 1-2 hours of collection. If this is not possible, sample can be stored in a refrigerator at 4-6°C for maximum of 24 hours. After the sample is taken out of refrigerator, it should be allowed to return to room temperature, mixed properly, and then tested.
 
Complications
 
  1. Failure to obtain blood: This happens if vein is missed, or excessive pull is applied to the plunger causing collapse of the vein.
  2. Occurrence of hematoma, thrombosis, thrombophlebitis, abscess, or bleeding.
  3. Transmission of infections like hepatitis B or human immuno-deficiency virus if reusable needles and syringes, which are not properly sterilised, are used.
 
Further Reading:
 

SEQUENCE OF FILLING OF TUBES FOR HEMOTOLOGICAL INVESTIGATIONS

Published in Hemotology
Saturday, 22 July 2017 12:14
SEQUENCE OF FILLING OF TUBES
 
Following order of filling of tubes should be followed after withdrawal of blood from the patient if multiple investigations are ordered:
 
  1. First tube: Blood culture.
  2. Second tube: Plain tube (serum).
  3. Third tube: Tube containing anticoagulant (EDTA, citrate, or heparin).
  4. Fourth tube: Tube containing additional stabilizing agent like fluoride.
 
Further Reading:
 

USES OF ANTICOAGULANTS FOR HEMOTOLOGICAL INVESTIGATIONS

Published in Hemotology
Saturday, 22 July 2017 10:04
Anticoagulants used for hematological investigations are ethylene diamine tetra-acetic acid (EDTA), heparin, double oxalate, and trisodium citrate (Table 791.1).
 
Table 791.1 Salient features of three main anticoagulants used in the hematology laboratory
Salient features of three main anticoagulants used in the hematology laboratory
 
Ethylene Diamine Tetra-acetic Acid (EDTA)
 
Changes occurring due to prolonged storage of blood in EDTAThis is also called as Sequestrene or Versene. This is the recommended anticoagulant for routine hematological investigations. However, it cannot be used for coagulation studies. Disodium and dipotassium salts of EDTA are in common use. International Committee for Standardization in Hematology recommends dipotassium EDTA since it is more soluble. It is used in a concentration of 1.5 mg/ml of blood. Dried form of anticoagulant is used as it avoids dilution of sample. Its mechanism of action is chelation of calcium. Proportion of anticoagulant to blood should be maintained. EDTA in excess of 2mg/ml causes shrinkage of and degenerative changes in red and white blood cells, decrease in hematocrit, and increase in mean corpuscular hemoglobin concentration. Excess EDTA also causess welling and fragmentation of platelets, which leads to erroneously high platelet counts. Prolonged storage of blood in EDTA anticoagulant leads to alterations as shown in Figure 791.1 and Box 791.1. EDTA is used for estimation of hemoglobin, hematocrit, cell counts, making blood films, sickling test, reticulocyte count, and hemoglobin electrophoresis.
 
Preparation
 
Dipotassium EDTA 20 gm
Distilled water 200 ml
 
Mix to dissolve. Place 0.04 ml of this solution in a bottle for 2.5 ml of blood. Anticoagulant should be dried on a warm bench or in an incubator at 37°C before use. For routine hematological investigations, 2-3 ml of EDTA blood is required.
 
Changes in blood cell morphology crenation of red cells separation of nuclear lobes of neutrophil vacuoles in cytoplasm and irregular lobulation of monocyte and lymphocyte nuclei due to storage of blood in EDTA anti
Figure 791.1 Changes in blood cell morphology (crenation of red cells, separation of nuclear lobes of neutrophil, vacuoles in cytoplasm, and irregular lobulation of monocyte and lymphocyte nuclei) due to storage of blood in EDTA anticoagulant for prolonged time
 
Heparin
 
Heparin prevents coagulation by enhancing the activity of anti-thrombin III (AT III). AT III inhibits thrombin and some other coagulation factors. It is used in the proportion of 15-20 IU/ ml of blood. Sodium, lithium, or ammonium salt of heparin is used. Heparin should not be used for total leukocyte count (since it causes leukocyte clumping) and for making of blood films (since it imparts a blue background). It is used for osmotic fragility test (since it does not alter the size of cells) and for immunophenotyping.
 
Double Oxalate (Wintrobe Mixture)
 
This consists of ammonium oxalate and potassium oxalate in 3:2 proportion. This combination is used to balance the swelling of red cells caused by ammonium oxalate and shrinkage caused by potassium oxalate. Mechanism of anticoagulant action is removal of calcium. It is used for routine hematological tests and for estimation of erythrocyte sedimentation rate by Wintrobe method. As it causes crenation of red cells and morphologic alteration in white blood cells, it cannot be used for making of blood films.
 
Preparation
 
Ammonium oxalate 1.2 gm
Potassium oxalate 0.8 gm
Distilled water upto 100 ml
 
Place 0.5 ml of this solution in a bottle for 5 ml of blood. Anticoagulant should be dried in an incubator at 37°C or on a warm bench before use.
 
Trisodium Citrate (3.2%)
 
This is the anticoagulant of choice for coagulation studies and for estimation of erythrocyte sedimentation rate by Westergren method.
 
Preparation
 
Trisodium citrate 3.2 gm
Distilled water upto 100 ml
 
Mix well to dissolve. Store in a refrigerator at 2-8°C.
 
Use 1:9 (anticoagulant: blood) proportion for coagulation studies; for ESR, 1:4 proportion is recommended.
 
ESR should be measured within 4 hours of collection of blood, while coagulation studies should be performed within 2 hours.
 
Further Reading:
 

FALSE REACTION IN ABO GROUPING

Published in Hemotology
Friday, 21 July 2017 11:19
  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.

Rh D GROUPING METHOD

Published in Hemotology
Friday, 21 July 2017 10:47
D antigen is the most immunogenic after ABO antigens and therefore red cells are routinely tested for D. Individuals are called as Rh-positive or Rh-negative depending on presence or absence of D antigen on their red cells. Following transfusion of Rhpositive blood to Rh-negative persons, 70% of them will develop anti Rh-D antibodies. This is of particular importance in women of childbearing age as anti-D antibodies can crosss the placenta during pregnancy and destroy Dpositive fetal red cells and cause hemolytic disease of newborn. In other sensitized individuals, reexposure to D antigen can cause hemolytic transfusion reaction.
 
In Rh D grouping, patient’s red cells are mixed with anti-D reagent. Serum or reverse grouping is not carried out because most Rhnegative persons do not have anti-D antibodies; anti-D develops in Rh-negative individuals only following exposure to Rh-positive red cells.
 
Rh typing is done at the same time as ABO grouping. Method of Rh D grouping is similar in principle to ABO grouping. Since serum or reverse grouping is not possible, each sample is tested in duplicate. Dosage effect (stronger antigenantibody reaction in homozygous cells i.e. stronger reaction with DD) is observed with antigens of the Rh system. Autocontrol (patient’s red cell + patient’s serum) and positive and negative controls are included in every test run. Monoclonal IgM anti-D antiserum should be used for cell grouping, which allows Rh grouping to be caried out at the same time as ABO grouping at room temperature. With monoclonal antisera, most weak and variant forms of D antigen are detected and further testing for weak forms of D antigen (Du) is not required. Differences between ABO and Rh grouping are shown in Table 788.1.
 
Table 788.1 Comparison of ABO grouping and Rh typing
Comparison of ABO grouping and Rh typing

Microplate Technique for Rh D Grouping

Published in Hemotology
Friday, 21 July 2017 10:28
Microplate is a polystyrene plate consisting of 96 micro wells of either U- or V-shape. Grouping is carried out in micro wells. This method is sensitive and ideal for large number of samples (see Figure 787.1).
 
Further reading: Rh D GROUPING METHOD

DETERMINATION OF BLOOD GROUP BY SLIDE METHOD

Published in Hemotology
Wednesday, 19 July 2017 13:46
Principle
 
Red cells from the specimen are reacted with reagent antisera (anti-A and anti-B). Agglutination of red cells indicates presence of corresponding antigen (agglutinogen) on red cells.
 
Specimen
 
Capillary blood from finger prick, or venous blood collected in EDTA anticoagulant.
 
Reagents
 
ABO antisera: See box 786.1 and Figure 786.1.
 
BOX ABO antisera
Box 786.1: ABO antisera
 
Anti A and anti B sera used for cell grouping
 Figure 786.1 Anti-A and anti-B sera used for cell grouping
 
Method
 
  1. 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).
  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.
  3. Add one drop of blood sample to be tested to each drop of antiserum.
  4. 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.
  5. By tilting the slide backwards and forwards, examine for agglutination after exactly two minutes.
  6. Result:
    Positive (+): Little clumps of red cells are seen floating in a clear liquid.
    Negative (–): Red cells are floating homogeneously in a uniform suspension.
  7. Interpretation: Interpret the result as shown in the Table 786.1 and Figure 786.2.
 
Table 786.1 Interpretation of cell grouping (forward grouping) by slide test
Anti-A Anti-B Blood Group
+ - A
- + B
+ + AB
- - O
 
Cell grouping by slide method
Figure 786.2 Cell grouping by slide method
 
Slide test is quick and needs only simple equipment. It can be used in blood donation camps and in case of an emergency. However, it is not recommended as a routine test in blood banks since weakly reactive antigens on cells on forward grouping and low titer anti-A and anti-B on reverse grouping may be missed. Also, drying of the reaction mixture at the edges causes aggregation that may be mistaken for agglutination. Results of slide test should always be confirmed by cell and serum grouping by tube method.
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