Clinical Pathology

The diagnosis of infections and diseases from bodily fluids and tissues is the focus of clinical pathology, a broad medical field. Microscopes play a key role in several of its disciplines, mainly in hematopathology as well as medical microbiology, also known as clinical microbiology. Accuracy and timely diagnoses are crucial in clinical microscopy. Thus, efficiency plays an important role in the daily routine of clinical pathologists. Microscopes can support efficiency in two ways: Firstly, by providing excellent images which facilitate diagnoses and, secondly, by creating optimally ergonomic workstations which reduce strain and tension. 

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What is clinical pathology?

Clinical pathology is concerned with the diagnosis of infections and disease based on the laboratory analysis, measurement, and quantification of bodily fluids, tissues, and microorganisms. Laboratory medicine is a term often used synonymously with clinical pathology.

What are microscopes used for in clinical pathology?

Clinical pathologists use microscopes to look at bodily fluids like blood, lymph, etc. to find abnormalities. Medical microbiologists, also called clinical microbiologists, look at microorganisms, such as bacteria, fungi, and parasites. Microscopes magnify details in the specimens and microorganisms and, thus, make visible information which could not be discerned with the naked eye.

Why do ergonomics matter in clinical pathology?

Many pathologists work long hours with their microscope. Physical strain often comes with the job. Their neck and back may be strained from looking through the eyepieces at an odd angle. Hand and arm muscles may feel tense due to small, repetitive movements for focusing and moving the stage. Eyes may become strained by the microscope illumination.

Musculoskeletal pain may have serious effects. It can impact pathologists’

  • well-being and quality of life, both during and outside of working hours
  • productivity and diagnostic efficiency

Leica clinical microscopes can support accurate and timely diagnoses as they make workflows efficient with their ergonomic design and excellent optics. 

Operators can maintain a comfortable position while working using an ergonomic microscope setup.

Take care with ergonomic microscopes

In order to reduce strain and increase well-being during work, clinical microscopes should be adaptable to your needs, not vice versa. You should be able to

  • adjust the height of the microscope to your height
  • choose your eyepieces and viewing angle to achieve a comfortable position
  • rest your arms and hands on the work bench and adjust the focus knobs so that they are within comfortable reach
  • strive for a symmetrical position with aligned shoulders. Leica clinical microscopes are designed with symmetrical focus and stage drive so you can avoid leaning sideways
  • take advantage of automation to avoid repetitive movements, e.g., by switching the objective revolver automatically between two positions in the so-called toggle mode 

Light synchronized objectives balance the light intensity even if you change objectives and help reduce the risk of eyestrain.

How does image quality support accurate diagnoses?

Stains, such as Hematoxylin and Eosin (H&E) or papanicolaou for pap smears, stain different parts of the specimen, resulting in a variety of color shades and intensities. Pathologists need to discern subtle color differences in stained specimens to be able to make accurate and reliable diagnoses. After a quick overview, changing to a higher magnification should show them what they need to see.

For the particularly high magnifications used for medical microbiology examinations, oil-immersion objectives are needed to discern details in the specimen. Only high-quality optics enable pathologists to see a clear, crisp image of their specimen so that they can draw the right conclusions from what they observe.

Additionally, Leica cameras have TWAIN capability, so you can easily store and transfer your images directly to the hospital or laboratory information system, facilitating the creation of reports.

H&E stained tissue specimen.

Shades of blue and purple

Color-corrected optics will give you an image with clearly discernible areas which are free from color fringes, unlike objectives without correction. Thus, color-corrected objectives offer high color fidelity, so that you can be sure that the colors you see through the eyepieces are exactly the colors present in the specimen. 

Leica optics are world-renowned for their image quality and will serve you well, whether you use conventional or oil-immersion objectives. Cameras suitable for Leica pathology microscopes will also reproduce colors present in your specimen accurately. Their large bit depth and high dynamic range are designed to truthfully represent the different colors which are present in your specimen.

Frequently Asked Questions Clinical Pathology

Show answer What is the toggle mode?

The toggle mode of the DM3000 microscope allows users to switch from one objective to another using two buttons which are located near the focus knobs. Any two objectives can be chosen, so that users can switch quickly between low and high magnification, thus, seeing either an overview of the sample or a specific area of interest in detail.

Show answer How can ergonomic microscopes support pathologists?

With ergonomic microscopes, pathologists can work more comfortably and with less interruptions. An upright posture and a symmetrical setup of the microscope helps avoid strain in the back, neck, and shoulders, while ergonomic armrests and adjustable focus knobs prevent muscle tension in the hands and arms. Thus, pathologists can fully concentrate on their work and need fewer breaks to relax their muscles.

Show answer Does Leica Microsystems offer multi-view microscopes?

Yes, we offer DM Multiple Viewing Systems for up to 20 viewing stations.

Efficiency

How do ergonomics and image quality help efficiency?

If you feel good, it’s easy to concentrate. Therefore, working in a comfortable posture helps pathologists focus on each examination.

If you look through a microscope and can easily discern subtle color shades in stained specimens, you can diagnose confidently and efficiently.

If the microscope is designed with the lab workflow in mind, avoiding unnecessary movements and providing exactly the features you need, this contributes to efficient work.

H&E stained Tissue Specimen (40x objective).

Stains, such as Hematoxylin and Eosin (H&E) or papanicolaou for pap smears, stain different parts of the specimen, resulting in a variety of color shades and intensities. Pathologists need to discern subtle color differences in stained specimens to be able to make accurate and reliable diagnoses. 

Phase Contrast of Immune Cells: unstained specimen in phase contrast

Phase contrast is an optical contrast technique for making unstained phase objects (e.g. flat cells) visible under the optical microscope. Cells that appear inconspicuous and transparent in brightfield can be viewed in high contrast and rich detail using a phase contrast microscope.

Pathology Microscopy

Analysis of specimens for pathology sometimes requires long hours working with a microscope. The result for the user may be physical discomfort and strain that can lead to reduced efficiency and the risk of less consistent analysis.

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