Improving Patient Care with 5-Part Differential WBC Analysis
10 May 2023
From general health evaluations to ongoing monitoring, a complete blood count (CBC) with WBC differential is crucial to providing quality patient care. Here’s what you must know about 3-part and 5-part differential WBC analyzers, their clinical applications, and how integrating advanced point-of-care devices can strike the perfect balance between efficiency, precision, and speed for the ultimate patient care experience.
3-Part vs. 5-Part Differential in WBC Analyzers
The primary difference between 3-part and 5-part analyzers lies in their ability to differentiate and count WBC subtypes.
A 3-part differential analyzer normally uses impedance measurements. The electric impedance (resistance) of individual cells is measured as they pass through an aperture. The impedance is correlated to the volume of the cells which is used to distinguish between three types of WBCs (lymphocytes, monocytes, and granulocytes), red blood cells, and platelets. Volumetric measurements estimate cell size based on the fluid volume displacement to provide cell counts.
In addition to impedance and volumetric measurements, 5-part differential analyzers also use flow cytometry. Lasers detect light scatter and fluorescence properties, providing detailed information about cell size, granularity, and complexity. This extra principle offers a more comprehensive analysis by differentiating and counting five WBC subtypes: neutrophils, lymphocytes, monocytes, eosinophils, and basophils.
It should be noted that the limited information attained using volumetric measurement does not only affect the number of cell types that can be identified but also the accuracy and ability to detect abnormal cells.
Clinical Applications for WBC Analysis with Differential
Generally speaking, a basic 3-part differential is suitable for general health screenings, routine laboratory tests, and primary care settings. It can identify basic distributional abnormalities in neutrophil, monocyte, and lymphocyte and monitor treatment response in uncomplicated cases. For example, it can indicate whether the patient has a viral or bacterial infection.
That said, a 3-part differential is less accurate than a 5-part differential, which can impact workflow efficiency overall. Even in more basic use cases, the additional information provided by a 5-part differential can reduce suspicious flagging and the number of samples that require manual examination.
In more complex cases, a 5-part differential is mandatory. Oncology, hematology, and immunology are just a few settings that require decisive WBC subtyping to diagnose and manage hematological malignancies and autoimmune disorders.
Physicians also require more precise white blood counts to monitor specific medical conditions or reactions or medication. For example, a 5-part differential analyzer can provide comprehensive monitoring for patients on Clozapine. In addition to providing the Absolute Neutrophil Count (ANC) to monitor for neutropenia, 5-part differential analyzers like HemoScreen can accurately measure eosinophil counts, too. Although it is rare, eosinophilia has been linked to a condition called myocarditis.
Fast, accurate 5-part differential WBC analyzers for monitoring patients on clozapine at the point of care can provide the data physicians need to make care decisions.
Cost and Operational Efficiency
Even though a 5-part differential WBC analyzer provides more accurate, comprehensive results, the instruments themselves are more complex. Traditional options on the market require specialized training and are generally more expensive to purchase and maintain — especially since they use more reagents than 3-part analyzers.
Because of this, physicians often rely on a POC 3-part differential WBC analyzer for basic use cases or refer the bloodwork to a laboratory that can perform a 5-part differential analysis.
Lab analysis ensures accuracy and detailed results. However, it can delay treatment decisions since it requires extra patient scheduling and a longer turnaround time to receive results back from the lab. This can be a poor experience for oncology patients, for example, who must make back-to-back appointments — one to perform necessary bloodwork, and another to receive treatment.
HemoScreen from PixCell Medical is the only WBC analyzer with 5-part differential that is approved for POC use. Using revolutionary technology, HemoScreen provides fast, lab-grade results in just five minutes, allowing physicians to diagnose and treat patients in a single visit.
Our device uses disposable cartridges, eliminating the need for reagents and lowering the overall cost of ownership. HemoScreen is fully automatic and does not require calibration or maintenance, reducing the labor costs typically associated with complex 5-part differential analyzers.
In short, HemoScreen offers comparable speed and convenience to 3-part differential analyzers, but with the enhanced accuracy and precision of 5-part analyzers.
Get Fast, Accurate 5-Part Differential Analyses with HemoScreen
HemoScreen simplifies real-time blood testing for everyone, everywhere. Our POC instrument is fast, accurate, and exceptionally effortless to use, empowering health practitioners to perform highly complex blood tests and get rapid results — all at the point of care.
Leveraging (VEF) technology, HemoScreen checks 20 different parameters and hundreds of characteristics with lab-grade analysis in just minutes. Our instrument can perform a CBC and a total WBC count in three minutes, or a 5-part WBC differential in just five minutes. Simply set the mode you need and get results quickly.
Your patients deserve the highest level of care: advanced testing and immediate results that enable early detection and critical decision-making. Learn more about HemoScreen and request a demo here!
(*) Please note: training must be defined by local, state and federal regulations. In the USA, training is defined for CLIA moderate complexity devices.