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Laboratory errors in Full Blood Count (FBC) tests can occur due to various reasons, including technical issues, sample handling errors, equipment malfunction, or human errors. These errors can lead to inaccurate test results and potentially affect patient diagnosis and treatment. Here are some common laboratory errors associated with FBC tests:

  1. Hemolysis: Improper handling or processing of blood samples can lead to hemolysis, the breakdown of red blood cells. Hemolyzed samples can affect various parameters in the FBC, such as falsely elevated potassium levels, decreased red blood cell counts, and altered hemoglobin values.
  2. Contamination: Contamination of blood samples with substances from improper collection techniques or insufficient cleaning of equipment can lead to inaccurate results. Contaminants might interfere with the measurements, affecting cell counts or other parameters.
  3. Specimen Collection Errors: Errors in collecting blood samples, such as using the wrong anticoagulant, incorrect sample volume, or improper mixing of blood with anticoagulant, can impact test results.
  4. Equipment Calibration and Malfunction: Inaccurate calibration of automated blood cell analyzers or malfunctioning equipment can result in incorrect measurements of blood cell counts or indices.
  5. Clotting: Improper handling of blood samples, delays in processing, or insufficient mixing of anticoagulated blood can lead to clot formation. Clots in the sample can interfere with the analysis and affect the accuracy of results.
  6. Labeling Errors: Incorrectly labeled samples or mismatched patient identifiers on samples can lead to mix-ups or misinterpretation of results.
  7. Interference from Medications or Substances: Some medications or substances present in the patient’s bloodstream can interfere with test results, causing inaccuracies in blood cell counts or indices.

To minimize laboratory errors in FBC tests:

  • Proper training and adherence to standardized procedures for sample collection, handling, and processing are essential.
  • Regular maintenance and calibration of laboratory equipment to ensure accuracy.
  • Verification of patient identification and correct labeling of samples.
  • Prompt and appropriate handling of blood samples to prevent hemolysis, clotting, or contamination.
  • Documentation of any medications or substances that might interfere with test results.

Quality control measures and periodic review of laboratory procedures help in identifying and addressing potential sources of errors to ensure accurate and reliable FBC test results for patient care.