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Minimal criteria for the diagnosis of megaloblastic anaemia of pregnancy
  1. I. Rannie,
  2. H. McTaggart
  1. Department of Pathology, King's College, University of Durham
  2. Royal Victoria Infirmary, Newcastle upon Tyne


    The routine examination of buffy coat films is a valuable diagnostic aid to screening large numbers of specimens of blood and is applicable to hospital and general practice, provided that a bottle of sequestrinated venous blood can be examined in the laboratory within 24 hours.

    The diagnosis of folic-acid deficiency anaemia of pregnancy can be made, in many cases, before the appearance of megaloblasts in the peripheral blood by finding macrocytes, polylobing of polymorphonuclear leucocytes, and `out of step' haemoglobinization of normoblasts in the buffy coat film.

    Accurate haemoglobin estimations at intervals throughout pregnancy, and particularly in the last three months, are an important and in some cases essential part of ante-natal care. Any haemoglobin found to be below 75% (11·1 g.%) should be followed by the examination of a series of buffy coat films while the anaemia is being treated.

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