Determination of blood gases in children with extreme leukocytosis

Crit Care Med. 1988 Aug;16(8):787-8. doi: 10.1097/00003246-198808000-00011.


The effect of extreme leukocytosis (greater than 300,000/mm3) on the PaO2 of blood stored at 22 degrees and 2 degrees C was studied in two children with leukemia. Arterial blood samples drawn from these patients at 1 and 10 min were compared to blood samples drawn from eight control patients with normal leukocyte counts and PaO2 levels in the same range. One minute after drawing the samples, the PaO2 values at 2 degrees C were significantly higher than those stored at 22 degrees C. Later, there was a rapid and progressive decline in PaO2 values in both samples stored at 2 degrees and 22 degrees C. Rapid consumption of O2 by leukocytes is liable to result in erroneous diagnosis of severe hypoxemia in patients with extreme leukocytosis. Immediate cooling of the samples is insufficient to eliminate this process.

MeSH terms

  • Blood Gas Analysis / methods*
  • Child
  • Cold Temperature
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Leukocyte Count
  • Leukocytosis / blood*
  • Oxygen / blood
  • Specimen Handling


  • Oxygen