Choosing the Right Hemoglobin Analyzer

A hemoglobin analyzer, also called a hemoglobin meter, measures the level of hemoglobin in the blood. It is useful when performing a health check-up, especially for diagnosing certain conditions such as anemia. There are also specific analyzers that measure glycated hemoglobin which are used in particular for the monitoring of diabetes.

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  • What are the parameters measured by hemoglobin analyzers?

    Hemoglobin analyzers can measure several parameters such as the hemoglobin level in the blood, the hematocrit level and the glycated hemoglobin level. These measurements are displayed in percentages.

    • Hemoglobin level

    Hemoglobin (Hb) is contained in red blood cells and used to transport oxygen from the lungs to bodily tissue. If the hemoglobin level is too low, it is called anemia. Symptoms of this deficiency can include fatigue, lack of energy, fainting, paleness or shortness of breath.
    If the hemoglobin level is too high, it is called polycythemia. This excess results in vision problems, dizziness, headaches, etc. People living at high altitudes tend to have a higher than average level of hemoglobin. Hemoglobin levels are lower in the elderly, women, children and during pregnancy.

    • Hematocrit level

    Hemoglobin is responsible for the red color of blood and has values closely related to the red blood cell count. The hematocrit (HCT) level is the portion of blood occupied by blood cells (red blood cells, white blood cells, platelets), while the plasma is the remainder. Since red blood cells make up about 98% of the blood cells, the hematocrit measurement is the ratio of red blood cells in the sample for the total blood volume.

    Glucose tends to bind to various proteins including hemoglobin. HbA1c or glycated hemoglobin is the fraction of hemoglobin that has reacted with glucose. Some analyzers can measure this glycated hemoglobin and more accurately assess the blood glucose level in the blood. The glycated hemoglobin level is therefore very useful for the diagnosis and monitoring of diabetes.

  • When are hemoglobin analyzers used?

    The measurement of the hemoglobin level in the blood allows the diagnosis of several conditions such as anemia, polycythemia and diabetes.


    Anemia is caused by low hemoglobin levels and can have several sources. According to the mean corpuscular volume (MCV), a distinction is made between:

    • Microcytic anemia: Microcytic anemia is defined as having a MCV of less than 80 femtoliters (fL). This type of anemia is mainly caused by iron deficiency.
    • Normocytic anemia: Normocytic anemia is defined as having a “normal” MCV (between 80 and 100 fL). This type of anemia can be caused by kidney failure, liver failure or hypothyroidism.
    • Macrocytic anemia: Macrocytic anemia is defined as anemia with a MCV greater than 100 fL. This type of anemia is caused by the hemolysis of red blood cells or a vitamin B12 deficiency.


    Polycythemia is caused by too much hemoglobin. There are two types of polycythemia:

    • Primary polycythemia: this is related to polycythemia vera, which affects the bone marrow. This can also be called Vaquez disease.
    • Secondary polycythemia: this can be caused by respiratory failure or heart disease.


    The glycated hemoglobin level indicates how well a patient has managed his or her blood sugar over the past three months. If the level is less than 7%, the patient is in the normal range. If it is above 7%, it may indicate that blood sugar levels are too high and that the patient needs to change his or her eating habits and physical activity. The result of this examination is important because it gives you an idea of how the diabetes is being managed.

  • What are the different configurations possible for a hemoglobin analyzer?

    Hemoglobin analyzers are generally available in two different configurations: benchtop or portable.

    EKF hemoglobin analyzer

    Taidoc hemoglobin analyzer

    • Portable analyzer: this configuration is particularly useful for point of care (POC) testing.

    EKF portable hemoglobin analyzer

    Hemocue portable hemoglobin analyzer

  • What are the price ranges of a hemoglobin analyzer?

    Hemoglobin analyzers are inexpensive products. Depending on the brand and model, prices can vary from a few dozen euros to several hundred euros.

  • Are there any risks to using a hemoglobin analyzer?

    There are no direct risks associated with the use of a hemoglobin analyzer. The measurement of hemoglobin, however, requires a blood sample. It is therefore necessary to ensure that the equipment used for this purpose is properly sterilized to avoid any risk of infection.

    The other potential risk would be a measurement error in the device that could lead to diagnostic errors potentially harmful to the patient. It is therefore necessary to regularly check that the device is properly calibrated.

  • Do hemoglobin analyzers require any special maintenance?

    No special maintenance is required for a hemoglobin analyzer. Calibration is sufficient to ensure the reliability of the results of the device.

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