Hemocytometer: Complete Blood Count (CBC), and Use of a Hemocytometer

hemocytometer counting

Also known as the Neubabuer Chamber, is a clinical device that experts use to determine the number of cells in the patient’s blood and other kinds of samples.

Before recommending a treatment or procedure to a patient, doctors will likely need to perform some tests to determine the best way to deal with each particular case.

Medical experts tend to proceed with this approach to obtain accurate data on people’s condition and what type of therapy they’ll be able to tolerate and what kind of treatments could result in potential harm.

In some cases, one of the statistics they need to decide how and when to treat a patient is the specific count of the number or density of cells. Doctors know this procedure as “Cell Counting.”

One Cell Counting test that many healthcare providers usually perform is the “Complete Blood Count,” which is part of a yearly physical exam in some cases.

Complete Blood Count (CBC)

CBC, also known as Complete Blood Cell Count or Full Blood Exam, refers to a test that consists of measuring the cells that make up the blood as well as the concentration of proteins, minerals, and other elements.

The human blood contains:

  • Red blood cells, which transport oxygen and nutrients to the tissues as well as playing a role in metabolism.
  • White blood cells, these are part of the immune systems, and they move throughout the body looking for invaders to fight infections and diseases.
  • Platelets, cell fragments that assist in blood clotting (coagulation to prevent or stop bleeding).

Doctors sometimes order a CBC to check for anemia (decreased amount of red blood cells) or leukemia (a group of cancers caused by the abnormally rapid production of white blood cells).

Medical experts also use the CBC test to monitor an already existing blood condition or to determine the effects that some medications or other treatments may have on the patient’s blood.

CBC measures the following values:

White Blood Cells Count. The average level should be between 4,500 and 10,000 cells per microliter (cells/µl). When the amount goes beyond the average, it can cause inflammatory conditions.

Red Blood Cell Count. The average value is around 5-6 million cells/µl in male patients, and 4-5 million cells/µl in female patients. Low concentrations of red blood cells are related to anemia.

Hemoglobin. Experts measure this value in grams per deciliter (g/dL). The average amount is 14-17 g/dL in male patients, and 12-15 g/dL in female patients.

Hematocrit. It refers to the percentage of solid particles in the blood. The average value is 41-50% in male patients, and 36-44% in female patients.

There are several ways to perform Cell Counting in such cases. Many doctors like to use modern analyzers such as automated machines to obtain as much information as they possibly can.

But some medical experts prefer to count blood cells manually by using a device called “Hemocytometer.”

This medical device can perform better than automated counters especially if the patient has abnormal blood cells.

Use of a Hemocytometer

The Hemocytometer is a counting chamber that consists of a thick glass microscope slide with a grid of perpendicular lines etched in the middle.

The central part of the chamber is where people can find a counting grid of specific size with vertical lines etched in the middle while setting on the glass.

Medical experts count the blood cells from a specific volume of solution by using this grid.

When doctors take a sample of blood, they dilute it with an isotonic solution. The liquid will fill the chamber underneath a coverslip.

Clinicians will then use a microscope to focus on the grid lines of the Hemocytometer.

The white blood cells, due to their size, will concentrate on the corners, while the red blood cells will be at the central square.

After obtaining the total cell count, doctors will use a mathematical formula to calculate cell density.

The usage of the Hemocytometer goes beyond blood tests. This device can also count spermatozoa. In such cases, the doctors perform the count in duplicate, counting both sides of the Hemocytometer.

Medical experts insist on having a sufficient number of sperm cells (at least 200 per side) to reduce the potential margin of error when performing the count.

Some doctors may even use the Hemocytometer to measure the size of the cells by using scaling.