The Usefulness of Blast Flags on the Sysmex XE-5000 Is Questionable


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Abstract

Hematology analyzers generate suspect flags that involve microscopic reviews to confirm the presence of pathologic cells. This study investigated the reliability of the blast flag in a side-by-side evaluation of 3 Sysmex XE-5000 instruments (Sysmex, Kobe, Japan). The repeatability of the Q values reported by each instrument for 10 replicates of the same blood samples was low (intraclass correlation coefficient [ICC] values, 0.62–0.74). The reproducibility of the Q values obtained by analyzing 408 samples on all 3 instruments was reasonable (ICC value, 0.85). In addition, a systematic difference was observed among the instruments in the level of reported Q values. With cutoff commonly being 100, the observed reproducibility of the blast flagging among the instruments was evaluated as poor (κ = 0.73). Based on the observed low performances, we question the usefulness of the Q value as a predictor of blasts and whether a blast flag reported by the XE-5000 is sufficient as a criterion for performing a microscopic review.

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