Bone marrow aspirates

Bone marrow aspirates

Species: Any

Specimen: Aspirate of cells from head of femur and humerus, wing of ilium (small animals), and sternum (large and small animals)

Container: EDTA tube (purple top) and smears of aspirated cells

Collection protocol:

Smears should be made as soon as possible due to fragility of the cells. See section on cytology. Make a number of smears so that a variety of smears may have both thin and thicker regions. Thinner regions are needed so the differential can be carried out. Thicker regions are needed to assess the cellularity. They need to be made as soon as possible after aspiration because the cells are fragile and degenerate quickly.  

Special handling/shipping requirements:

See section on cytology

General information about the disease:  See section on cytology

General information about when this test is indicated:

Required to diagnose causes of unexplained anaemias, cytopenias, presence of abnormal cells within the peripheral blood e.g. leukemias, and conditions affecting platelets.

When a bone marrow aspirate is sent to a laboratory send an EDTA blood sample for a concurrent CBC even if there are prior haematology results. This is because the best interpretation possible can be made only when both are carried at the same time. The blood picture is very dynamic and may vary from day to day.

It is also recommended to send a bone marrow biopsy in formalin taken at the same time so the cellularity can be more accurately assessed.