Aims: Spurious platelet counts can be found in acute leukaemias, as a result of the fragmentation of blood cells. Microscopic examination of a blood smear should be performed to detect the presence of these so called pseudoplatelets. When present, the platelet count should be corrected because of the important clinical consequences that a lower platelet count may have in these patients.
Methods: K3EDTA anticoagulated blood was measured on an automated blood cell counter, and a blood smear was made and stained according the May Grünwald–Giemsa method for microscopic observation. A 500 cell/particle differentiation was performed and the automated platelet count was corrected.
Results: The incidence of pseudoplatelets in 169 patients with acute leukaemia was studied. Pseudoplatelets were detected in 43 patients (25.4%), and seven patients (4.1%) were re-classified as having a major bleeding risk (platelet count, < 15 × 109/litre).
Conclusions: Platelets should be determined morphologically in patients with acute leukaemia and a routine screening method for the detection of pseudoplatelets should be developed.
- platelet counts
- acute leukaemia
- bleeding risk
- ALL, acute lymphoblastic leukaemia
- AML, acute myeloid leukaemia
- CBC, complete blood cell count
- DIC, disseminated intravascular coagulation
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