26 September 2017
Near-patient testing (NPT) allows clinical decisions to be made in a rapid and convenient manner and is often cost effective. In COPD the peripheral blood eosinophil count has been demonstrated to have utility in providing prognostic information and predicting response to treatment during an acute exacerbation. For this potential to be achieved having a reliable NPT of blood eosinophil count would be extremely useful. Therefore, we investigated the use of the HemoCue ® WBC Diff System and evaluated its sensitivity and specificity in healthy, asthmatic and COPD subjects. This method requires a simple skin prick of blood and was compared to standard venepuncture laboratory analysis. The HemoCue ® WBC Diff System measured the peripheral blood eosinophil count in healthy, asthma and COPD subjects with very close correlation to the eosinophil count as measured by standard venepuncture. The correlations were unaffected by disease status. This method for the measurement of the peripheral blood eosinophil count has the potential to provide rapid near-patient results and thus influence the speed of management decisions in the treatment of airway diseases.