Physio-EX Blood Analysis: Computer Simulation
In this lab five blood tests will be performed: hematocrit determination, erythrocyte sedimentation rate, hemoglobin determination, blood typing, and total cholesterol determination. A “hematocrit refers to the percentage of red blood cells (RBC’s) in a sample of whole blood. Since the function of red blood cells is the transport of oxygen to the cells of the body, the higher the hematocrit, the more red blood cells are available to carry oxygen.” In a normal, healthy male the value for males is 47% and in a normal, healthy female it is 42%. A person with a lower than normal hematocrit would indicate they are anemic, and a higher than normal hematocrit would indicate polycythemia. “Anemia is a condition in which insufficient oxygen is transported to the body’s cells. There are many possible causes for anemia, including inadequare numbers of red blood cells, decreased amount of the oxygen-carrying pigment hemoglobin, and abnormal hemoglobin. Polycythemia refers to a significant increase in red blood cells.” Some causes for this increase in red blood cells are tumors in bone marrow, vigorous athletic training, and living in a place that is higher in altitude. To determine a hematocrit value a whole blood sample is put into microcapillary tube and spun in a special microhematocrit centrifuge. By doing this the blood sample will separate the blood cells from the blood plasma and there will be a “buffy coat” of white blood cells between the layer of blood plasma and red blood cell layer. Then the hematocrit value can be determined “by measuring the height of the layer of red cells in millimeters and dividing that number by the height of the initial column of blood to obtain the percentage of red blood cells. In this experiment there will be six samples from six individuals, a healthy male who lives in Boston, a healthy female who lives in Boston, a healthy male who lives in Denver, a healthy female who lives in Denver, a male with aplastic anemia, and a female with iron-deficiency anemia. What should be seen in these experiments is that they healthy male and female living in Boston should have an average hematocrit value, the healthy male and female living in Denver should have an elevated hematocrit, the male with aplastic anemia will most likely have a very low hematocrit, and the female with iron-deficiency anemia will also have a low hematocrit. “The erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR) measures the settling of red blood cells in a vertical, stationary tube of blood during one hour.” In a healthy person the red blood cells do not settle or settle very little over an hour, but “in some disease conditions, increased production of fibrinogen and immunoglobulins cause the red blood cells to clump together, stack up, and form a column”, which is called rouleaux formation. When the cells are grouped like this the red blood cells are heavier and they settle much faster. This test can be used to follow the progression of certain disease conditions like sickle cell anemia and inflammatory diseases like rheumatoid arthritis. When a condition worsens the ESR will increase and then when it improves the ESR will decrease. Sometimes a female who is menstruating will develop anemia and in turn will have increase in ESR, as well as someone who has iron deficiency anemia. “ The ESR can be used to evaluate a patient with chest pains: the ESR is elevated in established myocardial infarction but normal in angina pectoris.” In this experiment there will be six samples from six individuals, a healthy individual, a menstruating female, a person with sickle cell anemia, a person with iron-deficiency anemia, a person suffering from a myocardial infarction, and a person suffering from angina pectoris. The healthy individual should have very little settling, a menstruating female will probably have an increased ESR, the individuals with sickle cell anemia, iron-deficiency anemia, and the...
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