In the sphere of laboratory testing, blood testing is the primary and most common way of detecting anomalies and finding causes to systems and potential developing diseases.
Timely carried out blood cell testing is usually beneficial in getting the knowledge of a developing problem that can be stopped before it reaches a difficult stage.
That is why blood testing is very popular these days. That is also the reason that hundreds of labs get at least hundreds of samples a day making it difficult for the agents to test each individually and manually. Hence, the development of automated blood cell counters to carry out the testing process at a fast rate. Let us find out what that is and how it works.
Introduction to Automated Blood Cell Counter
Before we get into what an automated blood cell counter is and how it works, we need to understand the basic terminologies first that are bound to be encountered in the working procedure.
We are aware of what Blood is and how important that is for humans as well as animals. But what you might not know is what it is composed of. It consists of Formed Elements, which form 45% of its consistency, and Plasma, which is the flowing liquid that makes it flow forming the rest of the composition.
Formed Elements consists of three things: Red Blood Cells (RBCs/Erythrocytes), White Blood Cells (WBCs/Leucocytes), and Platelets (Thrombocytes). Further on WBCs have Granulocytes (Neutrophils, Eosinophils, Basophils) and Agranulocytes (Monocytes, Lymphocytes) in its composition.
In all cases, an Automated Blood Cell Counter calculates the number of cells in these areas to see if it is between the ideal range to ensure everything is perfectly fine.
Therefore, an Automated Blood Cell Counter or a Hematology Analyzer is a machine that automatically counts the blood cells from the given sample of blood and displays the count as results. To proceed with the WBC testing, this cell counter can be of two types: Three-part differential and Five-part differential.
Three-Part Differential has been designed for routine blood testing in almost every lab and clinic and is measured in three parts: Lymphocytes, MID (Monocytes and some Eosinophils), and Granulocytes.
On the other hand, the five-part differential has been designed particularly for Cancer, acute allergies, or other tests for hospitals and big clinics. It is measured in five parts: Lymphocytes, Monocytes, Eosinophils, Neutrophils, and Basophils. This test is almost double the cost of three-part.
After understanding the theory behind the construction of an automated blood cell counter (ABCC), let’s see how it works.
Principle and Working of Automated Blood Cell Counter
The top standard methodology of measurement of blood cells is microscopy. This cell counter is a screening tool that automatically differentiates the abnormal samples from the normal ones to ensure that abnormal ones are separated for a deeper microscopic study to find the cause.
The core principle behind the ABCC is its traditional calculation methodology of Electrical Impedance. Even today, it is used in every analyzer as a core working tool.
In this, the entire blood sample is passed through the area between two electrodes where the area is so small that only one cell can pass at a time. With every cell that passes through this aperture, the impedance varies depending on the volume of that cell.
This is how cells are counted and their respective volumes. The electrical impedance method can be utilized to calculate CBCs and three-part differential only but cannot differentiate between similar volume cells leukocytes. That is why more methodologies were added to cover the lack.
In the case of a five-part differential, this lack can be covered with the help of Flow Cytometry Technology. This technology uses laser light force. In this, the blood sample is made to flow in a straight line through a thin nozzle.
At the opening of the nozzle, a beam of laser light is set. When the blood cells fall into the path of the laser light, which scatters the light in various directions. To work out the calculation, three directions of light are focused on:
- FS (Forward small direction 0.8~3 degree)
This gives all the information related to a blood cell’s volume.
- FL (Forward large direction 7~11 degree)
This defines the blood cell’s complexity and related information.
- SS (side direction scatter 90 degrees)
This is used to find out the blood cell’s granularity measure.
The combination of these three measures gives an accurate measure of the five parts of WBCs. But there is another measure needed, the correct proportion of each of the five parts within the WBCs.
To measure that accurately, Scattergrams are used. It’s a two-dimensional plot diagram where the x-axis represents the intercellular density and the y-axis represents the size of the blood cell. Through this, one can find the exact measurements of each of the 5, i.e. lymphocyte, monocyte, eosinophil, neutrophil, and basophil within the complete WBC.
There are many outstanding machines and equipment available that can help out with the above process easily. For small clinics and labs, there are EuroCount TS Three-Part Hematology Analyzers, HumaCount 30TS Three-Part Hematology Analyzers, etc. At the same time, for large hospitals and clinics that demand special detailed tests, there are EuroCount 5L Five-Part Hematology Analyzers, HumaCount 5D Automatic Hematology Analyzers, and so on.
Gathering the best machines that suit your requirements can be greatly beneficial as you can then tackle more than enough samples per day quite easily and accurately. No need to be stuck with manual methods when technology is just in your reach. Find your perfect match in the above products or browse for more that fits the bill of your requirements and your scope of the testing center.