Clinical assessment of the presence or severity of anaemia is notoriously fallacious. The frequency of anaemia in both the apparently healthy and the sick makes it necessary to have a simple accurate measure of the haemoglobin level. In the laboratory the measurement can be made with great accuracy (± 1–2%) using one of a number of instruments costing from £60 to £1500. The most expensive machines provide fully automatic operation from initial dilution to final print-out of the result.
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