Routine hematology is a common type of laboratory testing involving the analysis of blood samples. Such testing is done to detect diseases that may be affecting blood, including infections, anemia, blood-clotting disorders, hemophilia, and leukemia. Test results are used by physicians to identify the source of conditions that may be causing issues with a patient’s blood and blood forming organs and determine what treatments or medications to recommend.
Full Blood Count (FBC)
A full blood count identifies the number of white and red blood cells in blood. The number of platelets can also be determined. Such information is used to link results with different blood diseases. Autoimmune disorders, for example, often destroy white blood cells, so a low count would suggest this is what’s likely affecting a patient.
Abnormally shaped red blood cells can be identified with this this type of routine hematology test. Blood that is stained with dye is smeared on a slide. Heilmeyer’s reticulocyte is stain process used to detect sickle cells and blood parasites that indicate a patient may have malaria or similar conditions.
Iron deficiency anemia is a common type of anemia that may be detected with blood testing that involves checking vitamin B-12 and folate levels. All types of anemia are characterized by a lower than normal red blood cell count. Hemoglobin levels are also checked to assess oxygen delivery efficiency.
A doctor may order this type of test to check for antibodies attached to the surface of red blood cells prior to doing a transfusion. The purpose of the test is to make sure antigens are the same in the transfused blood as they are in the patient’ own blood. It may also be used in prenatal testing for pregnant women.
Prothrombin Time (PT)
If a patient has a suspected condition that may prohibit blood clotting (coagulation) or they are taking medication that may be affecting clotting, this test may be ordered. Also called an INR test, a prothrombin time test measures how long it takes blood to clot.
With this testing technique, charged molecules in DNA, RNA, and various proteins are separated by size. Testing of this nature may be ordered to check for inherited single-gene disorders (hemoglobinopathies) such as sickle-cell disease, or thalassemia, an inherited blood disorder.
Physicians may check to see how a recommended treatment for patients with clotting problems or related issues such as deep vein thrombosis (DVT) is working by ordering a d-dimer test. It measures a substance released when a blood clot breaks up.
ICC testing techniques are used to test blood samples for the presence of antigens on the inside of cells and on the surface. ICC testing is done to look for specific proteins.
The size, shape, and number of chromosomes in a sample are detected with a karyotype test. It’s usually done to detect chromosome defects, determine the cause of birth defects, or confirm the sex of a newborn. The test may also be ordered to determine what type of treatment may benefit patients with some forms of cancer.
As with all testing we do at our laboratory, our approach to routine hematology is thorough and efficient. Samples are collected with a standard blood test, which usually involves fasting to ensure the purity of the sample. Results are clearly presented in an easy-to-interpret report. Our efficient operations allow us to process multiple tests with consistent accuracy. Results for most tests we perform are conveniently available online with 24 hours.