Peripheral blood test
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How is it performed?
A blood smear or peripheral blood test is performed by obtaining a blood sample through a finger prick (a puncture in the fingertip with a very fine needle) or a venipuncture (extraction from a vein), and carefully spreading a drop of blood on a glass slide until it forms a very thin film. The cells are then stained and the morphology of the cells is analysed under an optical microscope.
What does it show?
Microscopic study of a peripheral blood smear allows the cells present in the blood sample to be seen directly and their morphological characteristics analysed (shape, size and cell organelles such as the nucleus or granulation characteristic of some cells, and also inclusions, deposit of substances, and even microorganisms such as parasites or bacteria).
Using this test, we can check if the cells have a normal or altered appearance. If any alterations are detected, they can be described and an overall interpretation of the exam can be drawn. This allows the suspicion of various diseases to be ruled out or confirmed, both blood and non-blood-related conditions. It also allows observation of the effects that other conditions within the body have on blood cells, such as infections, haemorrhages, trauma, etc.
If the blood smear suggests the presence of a blood or bone marrow disease, it may be necessary to conduct bone marrow aspiration and/or biopsy to confirm the diagnosis.