Medical Surgical Labs Priority Labs #1

Question

The nurse receives labs on her female client which reveals white blood cell count 4.9, red blood cell count 5.1 g/dL, hematocrit 42%, platelet count 180,000. What do these results indicate?

Answers

  1. Risk of bleeding.
    • Rationale:

      This answer is not correct because the lab that the nurse would observe to assess for bleeding is the platelet count. A normal platelet count is 150,000 to 400,000.

  2. Risk of infection.
    • Rationale:

      This answer is correct because the white blood cell count is too low. A normal white blood cell count is 5,000 to 10,000. A white blood cell count lower than 5,000 is called leukopenia and signifies that the client is more vulnerable to serious infections.

  3. Risk of irregular heart beat.
    • Rationale:

      This answer is not correct because the lab that would indicate a risk for an irregular heartbeat would be the hemoglobin and hematocrit. Hemoglobin and hematocrit are used to detect anemia, which can lead to a rapid or irregular heartbeat.

  4. Risk of hypoxemia.
    • Rationale:

      This answer is not correct because the lab that would indicate a risk for hypoxemia would be the red blood cell count. Red blood cells carry oxygen from our lungs to the rest of our bodies.

Overview

A white blood cell count of 4.9 indicates that the client may be immunocompromised and vulnerable to a serious infection. This is called leukopenia.

Explanation

Learning Outcomes

A white blood cell count of 4.9 indicates that the client may be immunocompromised and vulnerable to a serious infection.This is called leukopenia. Normal range for white blood cells is 5,000 to 10,000. Platelets should be between 150,000 and 400,000. Hemoglobin and hematocrit ranges are different for men and women: Men 14-18 g/dL and 42-52% and women 12-16 g/dL and 37-47%. Appropriate red blood cell values for men are 4.7-6.1 and for women 4.2-5.4.

Test Taking Tip

Memorize lab values! Don’t forget to distinguish between the genders!

Video Rationale