A hemoglobinometer, also known as Hb-meter, is a laboratory instrument used in analyzing the hemoglobin content of the blood. Hemoglobin is an important component of red blood cells (RBCs). It is a protein that is responsible for carrying oxygen to different parts of the body and carbon dioxide for excretion out of the lungs. This protein is also responsible in keeping red blood cells in their normal disc shape. The hemoglobinometer is usually operated by trained personnel in the laboratory.
In the past, a separate hemoglobinometer was often used in the laboratory to get the hemoglobin readings. With the advent of blood-counting machines, the level of hemoglobin, as well as the number of RBCs and white blood cells (WBCs) are usually included in the complete blood count (CBC) test. The CBC is often performed on patients with anemia, infections, and other diseases. Anemia is a condition in which there is a decrease of red blood cells in the circulation. This test is often done by extracting blood from the arm vein, mixing the sample with reagents, and reading results produced by the machine.
There are also smaller and portable hemoglobinometers that doctors can utilize in their clinics. They often use one of these when the need arises and while the patient waits. Depending on the result of the test, doctors may request additional tests, or proceed with treatment. This is particularly common in the clinics of obstetricians and gynecologists because women are prone to develop anemia due to menstruation, pregnancy, and other reproductive problems. Obstetricians are doctors who treat pregnant women and gynecologists are those who deal with women's reproductive health issues.
In newborns and pediatric patients, especially those born prematurely, the use of the portable hemoglobinometer is often convenient. This medical instrument can be brought to the hospital's nursery room where infants can be tested even while they are in the incubator. The amount of blood sample needed is also very small, thus, preventing the onset of anemia caused by frequent blood monitoring.
In using the portable hemoglobin analyzer, the blood sample to be used can be drawn from the vein, arter,y or capillary. The site of puncture, such as the finger, is usually cleaned with alcohol before the sample is placed in the hemoglobinometer for reading. Within several seconds, the hemoglobin reading then appears on the display screen of the hemoglobinometer. This instrument is also considered useful in emergency situations due to its simplicity of use, accuracy and fast result delivery.