High White Blood Cell Count

Discussion in 'The Watercooler' started by tinamarie1, Nov 8, 2007.

  1. tinamarie1

    tinamarie1 Member

    I have a quick question, my sister in law has had really elevated white blood cell counts for several months now. They are in the 30,000 range and just went down to 15,000 this week. She is still extremely worried. They have put her on so much antibiotics, they are afraid she may become immune to them. I tried to find online what a "normal" wbc is and it just said it varies among people.
    The doctor is now wanting to do a spinal tap on her, and she is terrified and doesn't think he should do it.
    Does anyone have experience with this?
    I won't see husband until late tomorrow to ask his medical opinion...
    tina
     
  2. busywend

    busywend Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I think it is a risky test. It has to be weighed with the risks of what the doctor is thinking she had have.

    I know that really does not help, but I think we need more info.
     
  3. Star*

    Star* call 911........call 911

    Tina,

    This is a CSF test. When regular blood testing can't find a reason for a low white BCC they take fluid from between the vertebra in your spine. It's usually done with a slightly larger needle and it hurts.

    Here I found an article for you to read about what is going on that pretty much tells you what to expect so she can calm down a little, and what they may MAY be looking for.

    Praying for the best outcome!
    http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/003625.htm

    We have a lot of MRSA here in SC right now. It's a mean strain of staph. DF got if from the local hospital and nearly died before they figured out what was going on. It caused him to go back in for surgery 3 more times to remove necrotic tissue. He also as a result of the mass antibiotics you have to get IV - lost his teeth. They were nice healthy teeth and the antibiotics ate the roots and rotted his teeth out. I know that isn't what your sister in law has, but you were worried she had too many antibiotics - I think she'll be okay.

    Hugs
    Star
     
  4. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/003643.htm#Normal%20Values

    This is another article about white blood cell counts. It gives some reasons, if you go to the normal results and abnormal results it gives some ideas of what might be going on.

    http://www.labtestsonline.org/understanding/analytes/wbc/glance.html

    this is from a site that I have found very helpful. If you click through the pages they do have links to articles on helping deal with anxiety over medical tests. Some are aimed at kids or the elderly but they are quite good, in my opinion.

    Sorry your sis is sick.

    Susie
     
  5. Hound dog

    Hound dog Nana's are Beautiful

    If the doctor thinks this test is necessary, in my opinion your sis should have it done. Docs don't make the decision to do spinal taps casually. He needs to get a more accurate picture of what is going on.

    Have they done any blood cultures? That might be something for sis to ask about if they haven't already done it.

    I'm sorry your sis is so sick. I hope they find the cause soon.

    Hugs
     
  6. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    THe white count does seem a little high. I assume her cells are normal?

    I think the doctor is right to want to check the CSF (cerebro-spinal fluid). I've had a lumbar puncture done and wile it's not a lot of fun, it was also no big deal. They also did a liver biopsy on me a few days later, that was less fun.

    But none of it would have been ordered if the doctor hadn't thought it was necessary.

    A spinal tap is done by pushing a needle into the sub-dural space between the vertebrae in your spine. An epidural anasthetic is given outside this space, just a little. But for the patient, it feels much the same.

    The brain and spinal cord are bathed in fluid (CSF) which is all held in by a tough, somewhat flexible membrane called the dura mater (or just dura).

    Because a lumbar puncture (aka spinal tap) requires the dura to be punctured, the CSF can leak out the hole. The needle goes in, carefully, and the doctor can feel as soon as the dura is punctured - it really is tough. The patient is either on their tummy or on their side for this. The needle sits there and a few drops of CSF ooze out and are collected. Usually only a few mls are taken. If the colour is normal (straw-coloured, like normal blood serum) this is a good sign. This fluid should be completely clean, completely sterile. But if you're really ill it can contain some bugs which the docs really need to know about. You do NOT want bugs in the fluid in which your brain and spinal chord are being bathed!

    The CSF can take a while to get fully analysed - it depends on what tests the docs want. But some answers will begin coming back within hours. Some may take weeks.

    After a lumbar puncture, it's a bit like after an epidural - they want you to stay still and lie flat for a while, to help that dura puncture heal. They will ask you to drink more fluids, to replace what they took. If you don't replace what they took you could get a headache (low CSF pressure) which feels a lot like a hangover, I'm told. When they did mine I already had a bad headache (I had all the symptoms of meningitis, actually) so I felt no worse. When your body replaces the fluid, any headache will be gone.

    It really is no big deal, when you weight it up against the high white count and the doctor's concern. The chances of anything going wrong are fairly remote - they are easy to do. Just let them book you into hospital for the day and take a good book. Enjoy being waited on hand and foot for a few hours. Lord knows we don't get the chance often!

    Marg
     
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