Blood Cell Indices and Morphological Abnormalities Detected Among COVID-19 Patients Receiving Care

Kofi Mensah, Victor O. Ofori, Charles Nkansah, Samuel K. Appiah, David S. Sackey, Vincent Kawuribi, Simon B. Bani, Hisham A. Osumanu, Selina Mintaah, Helen Owusu-Asante, Gabriel Abbam, Nicholas Klevor, Felix O-Boakye, Samira Daud, Charles A. Derigubah


Blood cell abnormalities may occur among COVID-19 patients and could be detrimental during the disease’s progression. This study assessed complete blood count (CBC) parameters and determined abnormal changes in the peripheral blood of COVID-19 patients receiving care at Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital (KATH), Ghana. This hospital-based descriptive cross-sectional study conducted at KATH, Kumasi, Ghana, recruited seventy-three (73) RT-PCR-confirmed COVID-19 participants. Venous blood was taken from participants into EDTA tubes and used for CBC analyses and the preparation of a thin blood film for blood cell morphological examination. Data obtained were analyzed with SPSS version 22.0, and p< 0.05 was considered statistically significant. Females were predominant (45/61.6) and had a higher COVID-19 cycle threshold (CT) value than males (p=0.027). The overall prevalence of anaemia among the study participants was 56.2% (65.5% in males and 50% in females). Geriatrics (>70 years old) had relatively lower Hb compared to other age groups in the study. Erythrocytopaenia (18/73), leucocytosis (28/73), lymphopaenia (9/73), and thrombocytopaenia (21/73) were common among the COVID-19 participants. Red cell morphological abnormalities were seen in the study participants: echinocytes (11/73), elliptocytes (6/73), stomatocytes (1/73), acanthocytes (4/73), pencil-shaped cells (5/73), schistocytes (15/73), ovalocytes (2/73) and target cells (1/73). Moreover, the acanthocytes were significantly higher in males compared to females (4 vs. 0, p=0.019). Again, reactive lymphocytes (8/73), neutrophil toxic granulation (18/73), neutrophil cytoplasmic vacuolation (42/73), smear cells (8/73), and one each of atypical lymphocyte and Dohle body were present among the COVID-19 participants. The COVID-19 CT value was lower among male participants. The overall prevalence of anaemia among COVID-19 participants was high, with males and the aged (>70 years) predominantly affected. COVID-19 patients have abnormal blood cell counts and significant morphological abnormalities in peripheral blood. Early detection of haematological abnormalities would be beneficial in the management of COVID-19 patients. Further study to assess the haematopoietic activities of COVID-19 patients is recommended.


Doi: 10.28991/SciMedJ-2023-05-01-02

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COVID-19; RT-PCR; Complete Blood Count; Morphological Abnormalities.


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DOI: 10.28991/SciMedJ-2023-05-01-02


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Copyright (c) 2023 Kofi Mensah, Victor Obeng Ofori, Charles Nkansah, Samuel Kwasi Appiah, David Sebbie Sackey, Vincent Kawuribi, Simon Bannison Bani, Hisham Alhassan Osumanu, Selina Mintaah, Helen Owusu Asante, Gabriel Abbam, Nicholas Klevor, Felix Osei Boakye, Samira Daud, Charles Derigubah