Diagnostic Techniques Used in Haematology

Diagnostic Techniques Used in Haematology

Full Blood Count (FBC)

  • The Full Blood Count (FBC) forms the cornerstone of haematological testing.
  • This test measures components of the blood, including red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelets.
  • The FBC can detect conditions such as anaemia, infection, and most forms of leukaemia.

Blood Smear

  • Blood smears involve applying a blood sample to a glass slide and then staining the slide to identify cells under a microscope.
  • This test is used to determine the shape, size, and number of different blood cells.
  • Blood smear can identify blood disorders such as sickle cell anaemia, and provide insight into the health of the bone marrow.

Coagulation Tests

  • These tests, such as Prothrombin Time (PT) and Activated Partial Thromboplastin Time (APTT), are used to evaluate the blood’s clotting ability.
  • They’re important in diagnosing conditions like haemophilia and thrombosis, and in managing anticoagulant therapy.

Bone Marrow Aspiration and Biopsy

  • Bone marrow aspiration and biopsy involve taking a sample of bone marrow for testing.
  • This technique allows to examine the cellularity and morphology of the marrow, and to detect cancerous cells.
  • It’s usually carried out when blood tests suggest a problem within the marrow.

Flow Cytometry

  • Flow cytometry is a technique used to analyse the physical and chemical characteristics of cells in a fluid.
  • Sample of cells is suspended in a fluid and passed through an electronic detection system.
  • This technique is commonly used in diagnosis and monitoring of leukaemia and lymphoma.


  • Immunophenotyping involves identifying cells based on the types of proteins or antigens present on the surface of the cells.
  • It helps in diagnosing specific types of leukemia and lymphoma by identifying the cancer cells based on their unique markers.
  • It also aids in deciding the best treatment plan based on the type of cancer cell that is present.