Blood film

Last updated: Wednesday, 31, March, 2004

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Item Process

5 mL blood in EDTA.

2 mL blood in special paediatric EDTA tube.


Film spread, fixed, stained and examined by microscopy.


Evaluation of changes in numbers or morphology of red cells, white cells and platelets.

Blood film examination clarifies abnormalities detected by automated haematology instruments and guides further investigation.


Microscopic examination reveals abnormal cells;
detects and provides an interpretation of abnormal red cell, white cell and platelet morphology; 
detects artefacts causing counting errors on automated instruments; and
provides an assessment of polychromasia (reflecting reticulocytosis), rouleaux and red cell agglutination.


Bain BJ. Blood Cells - A Practical Guide. 2nd ed. Blackwell Science 1995.