Hematology

What is hematology?

Hematology is the study of blood and its disorders. Hematologists, board-certified internists, look specifically at blood components such as blood count, and blood and bone marrow cells. Hematological tests can help diagnose anemia, hemophilia, blood-clotting disorders, and leukemia.

What is the difference between a hematologist and a hematopathologist?

A hematologist is usually a board-certified internist who has completed additional years of training in hematology. The hematologist generally focuses on diagnosing and managing hematologic disease, especially tumors, and other cancers.

The hematopathologist is usually board-certified in both anatomical and clinical pathology and has additional years of training in hematopathology. Hematopathology is not only the study of disease of the blood and bone marrow, but also of the organs and tissues that use blood cells to perform their physiologic functions, such as the lymph nodes, the spleen, thymus, and other lymphoid tissue. The hematopathologist focuses on the diagnosis of conditions of the hematopoietic and lymphocyte-rich tissues.

Common hematology tests:

Test

Uses

Complete blood count (CBC), which includes:

  • white blood cell count (WBC)

  • red blood cell count (RBC)

  • platelet count

  • hematocrit red blood cell volume (HCT)

  • hemoglobin concentration (HB) - the oxygen-carrying pigment in red blood cells

  • differential blood count

To aid in diagnosing anemia, certain cancers of the blood, and to monitor blood loss and infection

Platelet count

To diagnose and/or to monitor bleeding and clotting disorders

Prothrombin time (PT)

To evaluate bleeding and clotting disorders and to monitor anticoagulation (anti-clotting) therapies

Urinalysis, which includes physical examination of color, pH level, and gravity; chemical analysis for blood, proteins, glucose, and other substances; and microscopic examination of the red and white blood cells, bacteria, and other substances

To diagnose kidney and urinary tract infections (UTI) and other diseases of the urinary tract

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