An evaluation of the utility of performing body fluid counts on the coulter LH 750

P. W. Barnes, C. S. Esby, G. Shimer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


Performing a manual body fluid count is a tedious, time-consuming, and frequently imprecise process for any clinical laboratory. The ability to perform many of these counts with an automated hematology analyzer has the real potential of making a major impact on laboratory precision and productivity. The manual chamber count is fraught with many variables and is often very technologist/technique dependent, often leading to inaccuracies in test results. Our laboratory undertook a series of studies designed to evaluate the capability of the Coulter LH 750 hematology analyzer to supplement our current manual method in the performance of body fluid analysis. First, we established the performance of our current manual counting method, the gold standard against which LH 750 performance would be judged. We looked at the precision of manual cell counting by having 4 technologists perform manual counts on each of 35 spinal, synovial, peritoneal, and other fluids with white blood cell (WBC) and/or red blood cell (RBC) counts of greater than 0.3 × 109/L and 0.03 × 1012/L, respectively. Our results support earlier reports that the variability in counts among technologists using the manual chamber cell count methods is often very significant. After each sample was manually counted, it was analyzed on the Coulter LH 750, and the results were compared with those of our current manual method. Results showed good correlation between the manual and LH 750 methods. Next, we conducted a series of separate tests to evaluate the stability of different cellular elements (WBCs and RBCs) in each of these body fluid types. The study consisted of 2 sets of 4 - 3-mL samples of each fluid type - which were analyzed on the LH 750 immediately on receipt and after 1 hour, 4 hours, 8 hours, 16 hours, and 24 hours. The findings suggested varying degrees of stability that were dependent on fluid type and initial cell concentration. Finally, we looked at whether it is necessary to perform background counts before analyzing each body fluid sample and the impact of automating body fluid counts on our workload.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)127-131
Number of pages5
JournalLaboratory Hematology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Nov 11 2004


  • Body fluids
  • LH 750
  • Manual chamber counts
  • Sample stability


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