Introduction: With proper logistical support and sponsorship, a laboratory in an industrialized nation might be able to act as a reference laboratory for clinicians based in a developing country. Methods: We built on previous experience in the clinical laboratory to see whether a specialized histopathology service (hematopathology) could be provided to a developing country without the expertise or experience to do it in country. Results: Over an 13-year period, 582 cases from 579 individuals were analyzed. Principal pathologic findings included acute leukemia in 84 cases (14%), dyspoiesis in one or more of the hematopoietic lineages in 65 cases (11%, including three cases with high-grade myelodysplasia), 23 cases (4%) with findings suspicious for a chronic myeloproliferative disorder, 35 cases (6%) with findings suspicious for a lymphoproliferative disorder, and infectious organisms (presumably Leishmania in most instances) in 9 (1%) of cases. Specimens from 45 cases (8%) were unsatisfactory owing to extreme hemodilution and/or specimen degeneration. Conclusion: With proper support, a medical laboratory in an industrialized nation may serve as a reference facility for a developing nation. The use of existing infrastructure may be remarkably effective to achieve optimal turnaround time. Although the lack of ancillary studies and follow-up biopsies limit the ability to achieve a definitive diagnosis in many cases, this must be viewed in the context of the limited ability to diagnose or manage hematopoietic neoplasia in developing nations.
- Bone marrow
- Laboratory practice