Morphology (haematological cytology)


Consultant Haematologists:

Dr Anna Godfrey
Dr Emma Gudgin

Dr Mike Scott

Consultant Clinical Scientist: 



Morphological assessment (Wright’s stain) is performed on virtually all samples that are investigated in the laboratory, including when only other investigations are requested. Morphology can provide the diagnosis, will direct the strategy in other investigations (e.g. which panel for immunophenotyping or FISH will be used) and is used as a quality control on the sample that is investigated with other techniques. When appropriate, a differential count will be performed on slides of peripheral blood and bone marrow for an estimation of the proportion of cells belonging to the different cell lineages, the presence of cells with myelodysplastic features within a cell lineage and abnormal cells, if present.  Iron stain (Perl’s prussian blue) is performed on indication. 


Specimens required

  • Blood smear (unstained)
  • Bone marrow smears x3 and/or squash (unstained)
  • Bone marrow aspirate (1-2 ml) in EDTA
  • Dab preparations from trephine or solid tissue (lymph node)                                   
  • Body fluids e.g. CSF; pleural fluid, in conservation fluid


Sample storage        

Air-dried, room temperature.



The morphological report will state the sample type and a description of the different cell populations present in the sample. Abnormal cell types will be described in detail and myelodysplasia will be quantified per cell line, when indicated. A (provisional) interpretation of the morphological results will be provided, with a reference to the most pertinent pending investigations. All aspirate reports are checked by an independent second consultant.

For haematological malignancies the HODS aims to describe the results according to the WHO classification of Tumours of Haematopoietic and Lymphoid Tissues (2008).


Anticipated turnaround time

Results will be available within 48 hours of collection of the specimen. For urgent requests, please contact the laboratory or at night or in the weekend the on-call Consultant Haematologist via the Addenbrooke’s Hospital switchboard on (01223) 245151.