A complete blood count (CBC) is often the first laboratory diagnostic test requested by a physician to assess a patient’s health condition. A simple CBC will measure the oxygen-carrying red blood cells, the oxygen-containing hemoglobin, the platelets that help blood clot, and the white blood cells (WBCs) of the immune system. With today’s technology advancements, such a test is typically conducted in a physician’s office laboratory (POL), using a small, space-saving hematology analyzer.
Depending on local policies, samples that are flagged as abnormal commonly require microscopic examination to confirm the results obtained with the analyzer. For this, the blood sample is traditionally sent to a hematology laboratory for a manual cell count. However, to minimizes pre-analytical errors, hemolysis, and blood clotting, the sample should ideally be analyzed within a couple of hours.