Blood film

Keywords: Peripheral smear, Film, BF


5 mL blood in EDTA.

2 mL blood in special paediatric EDTA tube.


Film spread, fixed, stained and examined by microscopy.


Evaluation of changes in numbers or morphology of red cells, white cells and platelets.

Blood film examination clarifies abnormalities detected by automated haematology instruments and guides further investigation.

A blood film examination may not be reviewed routinely when all automated analyser full blood examination parameters are normal, however a specific request for film review can be made when ordering a full blood examination.


Microscopic examination reveals abnormal cells;
detects and provides an interpretation of abnormal red cell, white cell and platelet morphology; 
detects intra and extra erythrocytic parasites;
detects artefacts causing counting errors on automated instruments; and
provides an assessment of polychromasia (reflecting reticulocytosis), rouleaux and red cell agglutination.


Bain BJ. Blood cells: a practical guide. Fourth edition. Oxford: Blackwell Publishing, 2007.

Go Back

Page last updated:

Copyright © 2022 RCPA. All rights reserved.