The Novel Use of Umbilical Cord Blood to Obtain Complete Blood Counts for Critical Neonatal Assessment

Cureus. 2022 Aug 14;14(8):e28009. doi: 10.7759/cureus.28009. eCollection 2022 Aug.


Background: Neonates undergoing clinical evaluations are often subjected to potentially painful phlebotomy for laboratory tests. The use of cord blood laboratory values for admission has been suggested as a means to decrease the risk of painful venipuncture and anemia.

Methods: Peripheral and umbilical cord blood complete blood count (CBC) results were obtained from infants who required a CBC. Results were compared using the Sysmex XN heme analyzer (Sysmex, Kobe, Japan).

Results: White blood cell (WBC) and hemoglobin (HgB) values were significantly higher in peripheral samples than in cord samples. The mean cord WBC count was 14.1 × 103/mm3 versus 15.6 × 103/mm3 peripherally (p < 0.001). The mean cord HgB was 15.8 g/dL versus 16.8 g/dL peripherally (p < 0.001). Cord platelet (Plt) counts were, conversely, lower in peripheral samples than in cord samples (264.8 × 103/mm3 versus 242.3 × 103/mm3, respectively; p < 0.001). Although statistically different, the mean CBC values from both samples were within the reference ranges. Delayed cord clamping (DCC) increased peripheral versus cord HgB difference nearly threefold (0.6-1.7 g/dL; p = 0.01).

Conclusions: Cord blood is an acceptable source for CBC blood sampling in newborn infants and can be used for clinical decisions. CBC laboratory values for cord blood remained within the peripheral blood reference range, with slight variability between the two samples.

Keywords: anemia; cbc; cbc testing; clinical laboratory; cord blood; high-risk neonates; iron deficiency anemia (ida); neonatal intensive care unit (nicu); sepsis screen.