Objective: To compare the measurement of haemoglobin concentration ([Hb]) using the HemoCue haemoglobinometer with that using the Coulter STKS haemoglobinometer.
Design: Thirty two EDTA samples were taken from neonates. [Hb] was measured in these samples using the HemoCue; the samples were then transferred to the haematology laboratory for [Hb] determination with the Coulter STKS. In addition, [Hb] was determined in 50 different random EDTA neonatal samples already held in the laboratory, using the HemoCue and Coulter STKS.
Patients: Neonates in the intensive care and low dependency Units of the Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital.
Interventions: Samples were collected from arterial lines or by venepuncture or heel prick into an EDTA bottle.
Main outcome measures: [Hb] using the HemoCue and Coulter STKS methods.
Results: The mean [Hb] measured using the HemoCue was 150.3 g/l (range 78–215) compared with 152.8 g/l (range 78–217) measured using the Coulter STKS, with a mean of the differences of 2.5 g/l. The standard deviation of the differences of the 82 samples was 3.73 g/l. The limits of agreement of the two methods (mean difference ± 2SD) were −4.8 to +9.8 g/l.
Conclusion: With adequate training and monitoring, the HemoCue can be used directly on the neonatal unit for rapid determination of [Hb] to within 7.5 g/l compared with the laboratory Coulter STKS, using much smaller sample volumes.
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