Background: Physicians who work in small clinics, far away from medical centers, cannot obtain relevant information regarding the acute phase response at low cost and real time. Methods: We adopted a simple slide test and image analysis to determine the number of white blood cells in the peripheral blood, their degree of adhesiveness/aggregation as well as that of the red blood cells. Three independent observers scored the images into categories of no (1), mild (2), moderate (3) or severe (4) inflammation. Results: A substantial interobserver agreement was noted for all three observers. No patient classified as having no (1) inflammation was given a score of moderate (3) or severe (4) inflammation and vice versa. The one-way analysis of variance (age- and gender-adjusted) confirmed that the data obtained from the image analyzer are significantly different between the above-mentioned four categories. Conclusions: It is possible to use a simple slide test and image analysis to discriminate effectively between various degrees of inflammation intensity. Since it is possible to send the pictures via telephone, Inter- or Intranet to a physician somewhere else, it might be attractive for medical personnel who work in small clinics not equipped with sophisticated laboratory facilities. This technique is currently being evaluated for possible Telemedicine and E-Health uses.

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