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You are here : AllRefer.com > Health > Tests & Exams > CBC

CBC

Alternate Names : Complete blood count


Definition

A complete blood count (CBC) test measures the following:

  • The number of red blood cells (RBCs)
  • The number of white blood cells (WBCs)
  • The total amount of hemoglobin in the blood
  • The fraction of the blood composed of red blood cells (hematocrit)

The CBC test also provides information about the following measurements:

  • Average red blood cell size (MCV)
  • Hemoglobin amount per red blood cell (MCH)
  • The amount of hemoglobin relative to the size of the cell (hemoglobin concentration) per red blood cell (MCHC)

The platelet count is also usually included in the CBC.

See also:

Why is the Test Performed?

The CBC test may be performed under many different conditions and to assess many different symptoms or diseases. The results can reflect problems with fluid volume (such as dehydration) or loss of blood.

The test can reveal problems with RBC production and destruction, or help diagnose infection, allergies, and problems with blood clotting.

MCV, MCH, and MCHC values reflect the size and hemoglobin concentration of individual cells, and are useful in diagnosing different types of anemia.

How is the Test Performed?

Blood is typically drawn from a vein, usually from the inside of the elbow or the back of the hand. The site is cleaned with germ-killing medicine (antiseptic). The health care provider wraps an elastic band around the upper arm to apply pressure to the area and make the vein swell with blood.

Next, the health care provider gently inserts a needle into the vein. The blood collects into an airtight vial or tube attached to the needle. The elastic band is removed from your arm.

Once the blood has been collected, the needle is removed, and the puncture site is covered to stop any bleeding.

In infants or young children, a sharp tool called a lancet may be used to puncture the skin and make it bleed. The blood collects into a small glass tube called a pipette, or onto a slide or test strip. A bandage may be placed over the area if there is any bleeding.

How to Prepare for the Test?

There is no special preparation needed.

How will the Test Feel?

When the needle is inserted to draw blood, you may feel moderate pain, though most people feel only a prick or a stinging sensation. Afterward there may be some throbbing or bruising.

Pictures & Images

Red blood cells, sickle cell
Red blood cells, sickle cell

Megaloblastic anemia - view of red blood cells
Megaloblastic anemia - view of red blood cells

Red blood cells, tear-drop shape
Red blood cells, tear-drop shape

Red blood cells, normal
Red blood cells, normal

Red blood cells, elliptocytosis
Red blood cells, elliptocytosis

Red blood cells, spherocytosis
Red blood cells, spherocytosis

Red blood cells, multiple sickle cells
Red blood cells, multiple sickle cells

Basophil (close-up)
Basophil (close-up)

Malaria, microscopic view of cellular parasites
Malaria, microscopic view of cellular parasites

Malaria, photomicrograph of cellular parasites
Malaria, photomicrograph of cellular parasites

Red blood cells, sickle cells
Red blood cells, sickle cells

Red blood cells, sickle and pappenheimer
Red blood cells, sickle and pappenheimer

Red blood cells, target cells
Red blood cells, target cells

Formed elements of blood
Formed elements of blood

Complete blood count - series
Complete blood count - series

      See all Pictures & Images



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Review Date : 3/4/2010
Reviewed By : A.D.A.M. Editorial Team: David Zieve, MD, MHA, David R. Eltz. Previously reviewed by David C. Dugdale, III, MD, Professor of Medicine, Division of General Medicine, Department of Medicine, University of Washington School of Medicine (2/9/2010).



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