A flow cytometric method for platelet counting in platelet concentrates

Pieter F van der Meer, Willy Karssing-van Leeuwen, Jim Kurtz, Hans-Peter Spengler, AbbeJane Blair, Dana Devine, Paul Harrison, Bernd Lambrecht, Tania VandenBroeke, Janny de Wildt, Dirk de Korte, Biomedical Excellence for Safer Transfusion (BEST) Collaborative

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


BACKGROUND: The platelets (PLTs) in PLT concentrates are counted with hematology analyzers, but varying results among different hematology analyzers are observed, making comparisons very difficult. Due to the absence of red blood cells in PLT concentrates, the International Council for Standardization in Hematology (ICSH) reference method was modified to be used for PLT concentrates and validated in an international comparative study.

STUDY DESIGN AND METHODS: Five PLT samples were shipped to eight participating centers of the Biomedical Excellence for Safer Transfusion (BEST) Collaborative and counted on the same day. PLTs were stained with fluorescein isothiocyanate-labeled anti-CD41a in tubes (TruCount, BD Biosciences), measured on a flow cytometer, and analyzed with a uniform template. These samples were also counted on 15 hematology analyzers.

RESULTS: The ICSH method and newly developed BEST method yielded PLT counting results with less than 1% difference (not significant). The intercenter coefficient of variation (CV) of the BEST method was on average 6.3% versus 7.6% on average for hematology analyzers. The CV of individual hematology analyzers was on average 0.9%, which was considerably lower than for the flow cytometers with a mean of 3.7%.

CONCLUSION: The BEST flow cytometric method has a smaller intercenter CV and a smaller center-to-center deviation from the group mean compared to hematology analyzers. Conversely, individual hematology analyzers are more precise than the flow cytometric method. Thus, the flow cytometric method provides a calibration tool to allow comparisons between centers, but there is no need to replace routine counting with hematology analyzers.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)173-80
Number of pages8
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2012

Bibliographical note

© 2011 American Association of Blood Banks.


  • Flow Cytometry
  • Humans
  • Platelet Count


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