Non-surgical and surgical asplenia predisposes to fatal infections; therefore, simple, non-invasive and repeatable tests for assessing splenic function are required, even in non-specialized medical institutions. Howell-Jolly bodies are the most characteristic peripheral blood abnormality after splenectomy, but their counting is not considered a reliable measure of splenic function. In this study, in a group of splenectomized subjects and of patients with non-surgical hyposplenism, we have compared counting of Howell-Jolly bodies, stained by both the May-Grunwald/Giemsa method and the Feulgen reaction, with pitted cell counting which is considered a reliable technique for the assessment of splenic hypofunction. A significant correlation has been found between Howell-Jolly body counts, stained by either technique, and pitted cell counts (P <0.0001). Though Howell-Jolly bodies were never detectable when pitted cell counts fell between 4 and 8%, values consistent with a very mild splenic hypofunction, for pitted cell counts above 8% their increase was always associated with increasing Howell-Jolly body counts. These data suggest that, although pitted cell counting represents a more sensitive method for evaluating splenic function, Howell-Jolly body counting may still be regarded as a simple and reliable technique for identifying and monitoring those cases associated with a real risk of overwhelming infections.
|Number of pages||7|
|Journal||Clinical and Laboratory Haematology|
|Publication status||Published - 1990|
- Howell-Jolly bodies
- pitted cells
- splenic function
ASJC Scopus subject areas