Besides the use of traditional laboratory resources, the diagnosis of anemia can also be accomplished by assessing hemoglobin (Hb) concentration with point-of-care testing (POCT) devices such as the HemoCue test systems. In several situations, these devices might suitably replace traditional laboratory testing, including several areas of health care where a very rapid Hb measurement might be required to make immediate therapeutic decisions. The use of these devices, however, should fulfill some basic criteria, including economic, clinical, and regulatory issues; appropriate training of the users and knowledge of test requirements, performance, limitations, and potential interferences; the use of venous and arterial sampling, when possible; and a rigorous quality assessment, which should be under the responsibility of laboratory professionals. Because of its optimal performance along with the fact that the HemoCue is probably one of the most commonly used devices worldwide, the aim of this article is to review the literature data about the performance of this test system as compared with laboratory reference testing estimations and according to the biological matrix.
Keywords: anemia; automated hemocytometers; blood donors; delivery of health care; hemoglobin concentration.