Medical Surgical Labs WBC White Blood Count #4

Question

Which client is most likely to experience leukopenia?

Answers

  1. A client who is three weeks postpartum.
    • Rationale:

      This answer is not correct because pregnanct women usually have elevated white blood cell count levels. The stress and labor of delivery may also increase these white cell counts.

  2. A client who has osteoarthritis.
    • Rationale:

      This answer is not correct because osteoarthritis causes long-term inflammation. Chronic inflammation increases white blood cells due to the inflammatory response it causes in the body.

  3. A client who uses Pulmicort daily for emphysema.
    • Rationale:

      This answer is not correct because daily inhaled steroid use increases white blood cells. This is because steroids suppress the immune system, which causes a response from the bone marrow to produce more white blood cells.

  4. A client diagnosed with influenza.
    • Rationale:

      This answer is correct because white blood cells decrease in the presence of a viral infection. A viral infection disrupts the bone marrow’s ability to make white cells. Once the body recovers from the infection, the white blood cell count typically normalizes.

Overview

Leukopenia is defined as having a white blood cell count under 5000 cells/mcL. Causes may include viral infections, long-term inflammation, aplastic anemia, clients undergoing chemotherapy or radiation, autoimmune disorders, and infectious diseases that cause immunosuppression such as HIV/AIDS or tuberculosis.

Explanation

Learning Outcomes

Leukopenia is defined as having a white blood cell count under 5000 cells/mcL. Causes may include viral infections, long-term inflammation, aplastic anemia, clients undergoing chemotherapy or radiation, autoimmune disorders, and infectious diseases that cause immunosuppression such as HIV/AIDS or tuberculosis. White blood cells come from bone marrow. These cells play an important role in the body’s immune system. They seek out infections and create antibodies. When a client experiences leukopenia, the body is unable to appropriately defend itself against infection. For this reason, it is important to have a therapeutic range of white blood cells between 5000 cells/mcL – 10,000 cells/mcL.

Test Taking Tip

Have comprehension of how different types of infection and inflammation affect white blood cells.

Video Rationale