Top Tips for Haematology Samples

Here are a few practical tips on making the best of haematology samples that you submit for analysis:

  • Make a good quality thin blood smear to send along with the EDTA sample.  Make sure this is done in dry conditions with clean slides to reduce artefacts.  This is particularly important if there is going to be a delay in posting.  Smears can be fixed in methanol for 3 minutes and allowed to dry before posting.

  • Check the use by date on your EDTA (purple top) tubes.

  • Collecting samples directly into a vacutainer means that the cells are drawn through the needle under negative pressure.  This in itself can cause cell damage, particularly of platelets.

  • If the vacutainer tube is not filled as indicated the concentration of EDTA will be higher than intended.  This can cause cell shrinkage and damage. 

  • Conversely if the tube is overfilled the sample may be prone to clotting.

  • If you are collecting red, green and purple top samples, and are working on your own, collect the purple (EDTA) sample last so that you can gently invert it to mix immediately after collection. 

  • Make sure the sample is not overheated e.g. next to a heater in the car or at the practice.

  • Post on the day of collection.

Posted by Veterinary Services on 01/09/2020

Tags: haematology, samples, top tips