An evaluation of the HemoCue for measuring haemoglobin in field studies in Jamaica.
The HemoCue system utilizes the principle of oxidation of haemoglobin to hemiglobin by sodium nitrite and the subsequent conversion of hemiglobin to hemiglobinazide by sodium azide. The reagents for these reactions are contained within a small disposable microcuvette of approximately 10 microliters in volume. A venous or capillary sample is introduced into the microcuvette by capillary action and, after reaction with the reagents, the absorbance is read in the HemoCue photometer at 565 and 880 nm. The haemoglobin concentration is then displayed as a digital reading, in either g/dl or mmol/l in 15-45 seconds. We compared haemoglobin values obtained by the HemoCue system with those from the Coulter Counter S-Plus IV in 366 pregnant women in urban Jamaica, and found a highly significant correlation (r = 0.78, P < 0.01). However, because of the convenience and ease of use of this instrument and considering the relatively high cost, we recommend it for use only as a research tool in field studies where accurate and rapid haemoglobin determinations are required