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The diagnostic reasoning involved in interpreting blood results

10 March 2022
15 min read
Volume 31 · Issue 5


Critical assessment of blood results is pivotal to a patient's management. Advanced practice involves autonomous consultation and diagnostic reasoning. The field of haematology is often an area that colleagues find daunting. But with a systematic review and analysis of results, differential diagnosis and plans for treatment or referral can be made. This is the second article in a two-part series. The first article in this two-part series examined history taking in patients with suspected haematological disease. This article will discuss common derangement in blood results and the significance relating to patient management, considering latest evidence and guidelines.

The expanding role of advanced nurse practitioners (ANPs) sees them at the forefront of patient consultation and management. The first article in this two-part series discussed history-taking in patients with suspected haematological disease (Milne, 2022). This article will examine the critical thinking required to aid in the diagnosis of the adult haematology patient and discuss regularly seen abnormalities within the blood. The aim is to ensure the most appropriate blood tests are performed and referral for specialist review is made promptly when necessary.

Haematological malignancy accounts for 44 160 expected cases a year, with approximately 10 100 new leukaemia cases diagnosed, making leukaemia the 12th most common cancer in the UK (Cancer Research UK, 2022). Not all deviations from normal values will be due to malignancy. The role of ANPs is to critically evaluate our findings, through analysis, interpretation, explanation, open-mindedness, and problem solving

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