Main content area

Diagnostic performances of manual and automated reticulocyte parameters in anaemic cats

Paltrinieri, Saverio, Fossati, Marco, Menaballi, Valentina
anemia, blood sampling, cats, probability, reticulocytes
The objective of this study was to evaluate the diagnostic performances of manual and instrumental measurement of reticulocyte percentage (Ret%), reticulocyte number (Ret#) and reticulocyte production index (RPI) to differentiate regenerative anaemia (RA) from non-regenerative anaemia (NRA) in cats. Data from 106 blood samples from anaemic cats with manual counts (n = 74; 68 NRA, six RA) or instrumental counts of reticulocytes (n = 32; 25 NRA, seven RA) collected between 1995 and 2013 were retrospectively analysed. Sensitivity, specificity and positive likelihood ratio (LR+) were calculated using either cut-offs reported in the literature or cut-offs determined from receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curves. All the reticulocyte parameters were significantly higher in cats with RA than in cats with NRA. All the ROC curves were significantly different (P <0.001) from the line of no discrimination, without significant differences between the three parameters. Using the cut-offs published in literature, the Ret% (cut-off: 0.5%) was sensitive (100%) but not specific (<75%), the RPI (cut-off: 1.0) was specific (>92%) but not sensitive (<15%), and the Ret# (cut-off: 50 × 10³/µl) had a sensitivity and specificity >80% and the highest LR+ (manual count: 14; instrumental count: 6). For all the parameters, sensitivity and specificity approached 100% using the cut-offs determined by the ROC curves. These cut-offs were higher than those reported in the literature for Ret% (manual: 1.70%; instrumental: 3.06%), lower for RPI (manual: 0.39; instrumental: 0.59) and variably different, depending on the method (manual: 41 × 10³/µl; instrumental: 57 × 10³/µl), for Ret#. Using these cut-offs, the RPI had the highest LR+ (manual: 22.7; instrumental: 12.5). This study indicated that all the reticulocyte parameters may confirm regeneration when the pretest probability is high, while when this probability is moderate, RA should be identified using the RPI providing that cut-offs <1.0 are used.