Medical Surgical Labs WBC White Blood Count #1

Question

The student nurse overhears her nursing mentor remark that the client they are caring for has leukopenia. The student nurse understands that this means:

Answers

  1. White blood count is over 10,000 cells/mcL.
    • Rationale:

      This answer is not correct because this would be called leukocytosis. A white count higher than 10,000 cells/mcL is called leukocytosis and signifies sepsis or infection.

  2. White blood count is under 5000 cells/mcL.
    • Rationale:

      This answer is correct because a white count under 5,000 cells/mcL is called leukopenia. This means there are an abnormally low number of white blood cells. This usually indicates bone marrow suppression or immunosuppression.

  3. Red blood count is over 5.9 cells/mcL.
    • Rationale:

      This answer is not correct because a red blood cell count over 5.9 cells/mcL is called polycythemia. Polycythemia is an abnormally high red blood cell count.

  4. Red blood count is under 4.5 cells/mcL.
    • Rationale:

      This answer is not correct because this is called anemia. Anemia is an abnormally low red blood cell count below 4.5 cells/mcL.

Overview

A white blood cell count under 5000 cells/mcL is called leukopenia. This usually indicates bone marrow suppression or immunosuppression.

Explanation

Learning Outcomes

Leukopenia is a white blood cell count below 5000 cells/mcL. This is usually a result of bone marrow suppression or immunosuppression. A white blood cell count over 10,000 cells/mcL is called leukocytosis. This indicates sepsis or infection. Steroids can also cause leukocytosis. When a client has leukopenia, the client should be placed on neutropenic precautions. This includes monitoring the client for a low-grade fever. Since leukopenia means the immune system is suppressed, the fever will be low, and this means there is a bad infection. The client should have a private room and avoid crowds and people who appear ill. No fresh fruits or vegetables and no flowers in the room. The client should avoid drinking water from a pitcher or water that has been sitting out for over an hour.

Test Taking Tip

Remember your medical terminology and break the word down. Leuko- means white, cyto- means cells, and -penia means deficient. The client is deficient in white blood cells.

Video Rationale