Comparison of a method using the HemoCue near patient testing device with a standard method of haemorrhage estimation in dogs undergoing spinal surgery.
In many photometers and spectrometers used in routine practice Beer's law (relating absorbance to concentration) fails at low concentrations. A refinement of the HemoCue haemoglobin system (HemoCue AB, Sweden) provides a facility for accurate measurement of haemoglobin at the lower end of the scale. This study confirmed excellent linearity of the photometer response of the HemoCue Plasma/Low Hb photometer to haemoglobin concentration by direct measurement on whole blood samples, thus providing a reliable method when laboratory facilities are limited and where critical patient management may be dictated by the severity of anaemia. Furthermore, measurements on plasma and on samples of urine containing haemoglobin demonstrated the utility of the device for reliable quantification of plasma haemoglobin and haemoglobinuria, thus providing a useful method in investigating moderate or severe intravascular haemolysis. A study of plasma haemoglobin on stored samples of ethylenediamine tetraacetic acid (EDTA) blood showed that a small but measurable degree of lysis occurs after two days at room temperature and after four days when stored at 4 degrees C. This effect on the red cell count will reflect on the reliability of using such blood as a quality control preparation.