22 June 2011 (Wednesday) - Kliehauers

The Kliehauer test is the standard method of measuring fetal-maternal hemorrhage (FMH). It takes advantage of the differential resistance of foetal haemoglobin to acid as compared to adult haemoglobin.

A standard blood smear is prepared from the mother's blood, and exposed to an acid bath. This removes adult haemoglobin, but not foetal haemoglobin, from the red blood cells. Subsequent staining makes foetal cells (containing foetal haemoglobin) appear rose-pink in colour, while adult red blood cells are only seen as 'ghosts'.

All of which has very little application to my daily round, but today the people in blood bank found a good example of a positive result. And using our digital camera that I obtained cheaply we were able to record the image for training purposes. So I’ll chalk up another success of my forty-quid result!

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