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Year : 2020  |  Volume : 9  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 145-149

Automated versus manual method for reticulocyte count: A comparative study in rural central India

Department of Pathology, Mahatma Gandhi Institute of Medical Sciences, Sevagram, Wardha, Maharashtra, India

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Nitin M Gangane
Department of Pathology, Mahatma Gandhi Institute of Medical Sciences, Sevagram - 442 102, Wardha, Maharashtra
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/ijh.ijh_42_20

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BACKGROUND: Reticulocytes are immature red blood cells that contain remnants of ribonucleic acid. Various reticulocyte parameters can help in the proper diagnosis of different anemias. It can be measured by manual as well as by automated method. OBJECTIVE: The aim is to compare between the manual and automated methods of reticulocyte count (RC) in anemia. MATERIALS AND METHODS: It was a laboratory-based cross-sectional study in which the comparison of RC by manual and automated method along with various reticulocyte parameters was done in 300 patients with anemia and 300 control samples matched for age and sex. RESULTS: The study cases included 146 females and 154 males. No statistically significant difference was found between the automated and manual count among the male (P = 0.77) as well as female patients (P = 0.61). No statistically significant difference was found in mean RC among the infants (P = 0.71), children (P = 0.59), and adults (P = 0.66) between automated and manual count. The difference between mean manual and automated RC was statistically significant only in the case of males in the macrocytic anemia group (P = 0.092). Among reticulocyte indices, mean immature reticulocyte fraction (IRF), mean reticulocyte volume (MRV), and reticulocyte hemoglobin cellular content (RHCC) was found to be statistically significant among all types of anemia (P = 0.001, 00001 and 0.0001 respectively) while it was insignificant in case of mean corrected RC (P = 0.89). A significant positive correlation was found between manual and automated RC method by using Pearson's correlation coefficient (r = 0.985, P = 0.0001). CONCLUSION: There was no significant difference between the automated and manual methods for reticulocyte counting. However, the manual method may be preferred as it is cost-effective; yet, it is laborious, time-consuming, need efficient technique, not suitable for heavily loaded laboratories and may be suitable for under-resourced laboratories. However, the automated method is preferred as it is fast, highly precise, and it is mandatory for certain diseases where reticulocyte parameters are required as a statistically significant difference was found among the different parameters such as IRF, MRV, and RHCC.

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