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Film – blood

Category Haematology
Test background

A blood film allows examination of the physical characteristics of the red cells, white cells and platelets using microscopy. A blood film can be reviewed for the following reasons:
to detect erroneous blood counts
to confirm significant abnormalities flagged by automated counters
to provide supplementary information that cannot be gained from an automated count
to assist in the diagnosis of blood disorders, such as leukaemias and other haematological malignancies, anaemias of various kinds, including haemolytic anaemias and inherited abnormalities, and any significant platelet abnormalities of morphology and number, particularly those that may be due to TTP or ITP, or the presence of malarial parasites
to give an opinion based on clinical details, blood count and blood film
to perform a manual differential count when indicated

Clinical Indications

FBC results flagged by the automated analyser or by technical staff, demonstrating an apparent abnormality in cell population, distribution or artefact will automatically be selected for a manual blood film. Clinicians may also request manual blood films where there is a strong clinical suspicion of underlying haematological pathology or related disease states (eg. DIC)

Sample & container required 4 mL EDTA (lavender top) adults; 0.5 mL EDTA (lavender top) paediatrics
Sample volume 0.5 mL adult tube; 0.2 mL paediatric tube
Turnaround time Urgent films: same day; Non-urgent films: 48-72 hours

Guidance on interpreting blood films