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Smear Examination

Also known as: Peripheral Smear; Blood Film; Manual Differential; Differential Slide; Red Blood Cell Morphology; Erythrocyte Morphology; Leukocyte Differential
Formal name: Peripheral Blood Smear
Related tests: Complete Blood Count; White Blood Cell Differential Count; Red Blood Cell Count; White Blood Cell Count; Platelet Count; Reticulocyte Count; Hemoglobin Variants

Why should I do it?
To determine if red blood cells (RBCs), white blood cells (WBCs), and platelets are normal in appearance and number, to distinguish between the different types of white blood cells and determine their relative percentages in the blood; a blood smear helps diagnose a range of deficiencies, diseases, and disorders involving blood cell production, function, and destruction; it may also be used to monitor cell production and cell maturity in diseases such as leukemia, during chemo/radiation therapy, and in the evaluation of different types of hemoglobins (hemoglobinopathies).

When should I do it?
When complete blood count (CBC) and/or automated WBC differential results are abnormal, a blood smear with a manual WBC differential is performed to determine the presence of and identification of abnormal or immature cells; a doctor may order a peripheral smear differential to evaluate many conditions that affect a patient's red and white blood cells.

What Kind of Sample is Needed?
A blood sample drawn from a vein in your arm or by pricking a finger, ear or, in the case of an infant, a heel

Test Preparation Needed?
None