Evaluation of the contraves AL 820 automated haematology analyser for domestic, pet and laboratory animals
A comprehensive evaluation of the automated haematology analyser Contraves AL 820 was initiated to determine the suitability of this instrument for veterinary purposes in domestic, pet and laboratory animal species. The AL 820 (AVL Medical Instruments, Schaffhausen, Switzerland) is an impedance cell counter with automated threshold setting for rapid adaptation to cell characteristics of different animal species. Storage capability for up to 200 data sets with histograms is provided. Excellent precision, linearity and carry-over features of the AL 820 have been demonstrated in tests with rat, mouse, cat, dog, cattle and horse blood samples. Accuracy of haemoglobin and haematocrit measurements with respect to reference methods was characterised by strong linear correlation. The patented cyanide-free AL 820 method for haemoglobin determination compared very well to the haemoglobincyanide reference method. Accuracy of the red blood cell, haemoglobin, haematocrit, mean corpuscular volume, white blood cell count and platelet count parameters was generally good, when compared to the established laboratory routine method (the predecessor model AL 801) or to a high end automated haematology analyser (Abbott Cell-Dyn CD 3500). Although variation of platelet count measurements was greater than variation of all other parameters, it was considered acceptable particularly with respect to the lack of excelling alternatives. Poor accuracy of feline platelet counts was attributed to overlapping size distribution of red blood cells and platelets in this species. The overall favourable acceptance of the AL 820 was based on easy handling, simple maintenance and pronounced flexibility of this instrument at an economical purchase price. A sample volume of 30 µl and a throughput of up to 60 samples per hour are distinct advantages and render the AL 820 suitable for medium-sized laboratories. With few exceptions, the instrument provides reliable results for all major animal species encountered in routine veterinary haematology.
KeywordsAutomated haematology analyser Contraves AL 820 Electronic cell counter Evaluation Veterinary haematology
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