Hematology

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Editor-In-Chief: C. Michael Gibson, M.S., M.D. [1]

Editor-In-Chief: Robert Killeen, MD

Associate Editor-In-Chief: Cafer Zorkun, M.D., Ph.D. [2]


Overview

Hematology (American English) or haematology (British English) is the branch of biology (physiology), pathology, clinical laboratory, internal medicine, and pediatrics that is concerned with the study of blood, the blood-forming organs, and blood diseases. Hematology includes the study of etiology, diagnosis, treatment, prognosis, and prevention of blood diseases. The lab work that goes into the study of blood is performed by a Medical Technologist.

Blood diseases affect the production of blood and its components, such as blood cells, haemoglobin, blood proteins, the mechanism of coagulation, etc.

Hematologists and Hematopathologists

Physicians specialized in hematology are known as hematologists. Their routine work mainly includes the care and treatment of patients with hematological diseases, although some may also work at the hematology laboratory viewing blood films and bone marrow slides under the microscope, interpreting various hematological test results. In some institutions, hematologists also manage the hematology laboratory. Physicians who mainly work in hematology laboratories, and most commonly manage it, are pathologists specialized in the diagnosis of hematological diseases, referred to as hematopathologists. Hematologists and hematopathologists generally work in conjunction to formulate a diagnosis and deliver the most appropiate therapy if needed. Hematology is a distinct subspecialty of internal medicine, separate from but overlapping with the subspecialty of medical oncology. Hematologists may specialise further or have special interests, for example in:

(Hema- comes from the Greek word "`'aima" meaning "blood", -logy comes from the Greek "logos" meaning word. [referring to the first root word, as in biology, with bio- meaning life and, of course

Common basic clinical hematology tests

In a clinical laboratory the hematology department performs numerous different tests on blood. The most commonly performed test is the complete blood count (CBC) also called full blood count (FBC), which includes; white blood cell count, platelet count, hemoglobin level and several parameters of red blood cells. Coagulation is a sub-speciality of hematology; basic general coagulation tests are the prothrombin time (PT) and partial thromboplastin time (PTT). Another common hematology test in the erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR).

In a blood bank the Coombs test is the most commonly performed test.

(Images shown below are courtesy of Melih Aktan MD, Istanbul Medical Faculty - Turkey, and Kyoto University - Japan, and Hospital Universitario La Fe Servicio Hematologia)

Hematology as basic medical science

Classification of hematologic diseases

Tests

Tests used in the investigation of hematological problems include:

Treatments

Treatments include:

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Additional Resources


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