WBC Count, Blood Smear and Differential

WBC Count, Blood Smear and Differential is a topic covered in the Davis's Lab & Diagnostic Tests.

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WBC with diff, leukocyte count, white cell count.

To evaluate viral and bacterial infections and to assist in diagnosing and monitoring leukemic disorders.

Patient Preparation
There are no food, fluid, activity, or medication restrictions unless by medical direction.

Normal Findings
Method: Automated, computerized, multichannel analyzers. Many analyzers can determine a five- or six-part WBC differential. The six-part automated white blood cell (WBC) differential identifies and enumerates neutrophils, lymphocytes, monocytes, eosinophils, basophils, and immature granulocytes (IG), where IG represents the combined enumeration of promyelocytes, metamyelocytes, and myelocytes as both an absolute number and a percentage. The five-part WBC differential includes all but the immature granulocyte parameters.

WBC Count and Differential
AgeConventional Units WBC × 103/microLNeutrophilsLymphocytesMonocytesEosinophilsBasophils
(Absolute) and %(Absolute) and %(Absolute) and %(Absolute) and %(Absolute) and %
Birth9.1–30.1(5.5–18.3) 24%–58%(2.8–9.3) 26%–56%(0.5–1.7) 7%–13%(0.02–0.7) 0%–8%(0.1–0.2) 0%–2.5%
1–23 mo6.1–17.5(1.9–5.4) 21%–67%(3.7–10.7) 20%–64%(0.3–0.8) 4%–11%(0.2–0.5) 0%–3.3%(0–0.1) 0%–1%
2–10 yr4.5–13.5(2.4–7.3) 30%–77%(1.7–5.1) 14%–50%(0.2–0.6) 4%–9%(0.1–0.3) 0%–5.8%(0–0.1) 0%–1%
11 yr–older adult4.5–11.1(2.7–6.5) 40%–75%(1.5–3.7) 12%–44%(0.2–0.4) 4%–9%(0.05–0.5) 0%–5.5%(0–0.1) 0%–1%
*SI Units (conventional units × 1 or WBC count × 109/L).

WBC Count and Differential
AgeImmature Granulocytes (Absolute) (103/microL)Immature Granulocyte Fraction (IGF) (%)
Birth–9 yr0–0.030%–0.4%
10 yr–older adult0–0.090%–0.9%

Critical Findings and Potential Interventions

  • Total WBC count of less than 2 × 103/microL (SI: Less than 2 × 109/L)
  • Absolute neutrophil count of less than 0.5 × 103/microL (SI: Less than 0.5 × 109/L)
  • Total WBC count of greater than 30 × 103/microL (SI: Greater than 30 × 109/L)

Timely notification to the requesting health-care provider (HCP) of any critical findings and related symptoms is a role expectation of the professional nurse. A listing of these findings varies among facilities.

Consideration may be given to verifying the critical findings before action is taken. Policies vary among facilities and may include requesting immediate recollection and retesting by the laboratory.

The presence of abnormal cells, other morphological characteristics, or cellular inclusions may signify a potentially life-threatening or serious health condition and should be investigated. Examples are hypersegmented neutrophils, agranular neutrophils, blasts or other immature cells, Auer rods, Döhle bodies, marked toxic granulation, and plasma cells.

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