CBC and differential in VLBW infants

Neonatal Netw. 1998 Oct;17(7):17-22.


Purpose: This study tested the adequacy of established leukocyte indices in infants < or = 1,200 gm birth weight and < or = 32 weeks gestation.

Design: Charts of all admissions to the NICU from March 1991 through September 1994 were retrospectively reviewed.

Sample: All infants (n = 131) were outborn and admitted to the NICU within 24 hours after birth.

Main outcome variable: The leukocyte indices obtained during the first 72 hours after birth were plotted as a function of time in hours.

Results: Mode of delivery significantly affected total leukocyte count and absolute neutrophil count; sex and use of prenatal steroids did not. Ranges for total leukocyte count, absolute neutrophil count, and immature/total neutrophil (I:T) ratio demonstrate that normal values are variable and change over time. PRACTICE RECOMMENDATIONS: The wide distribution of values found, coupled with differences noted by mode of delivery, make normative data difficult to apply. The clinician must question the appropriateness of routinely obtaining a complete blood count and the clinical utility of the results.

MeSH terms

  • Blood Cell Count*
  • Delivery, Obstetric / methods
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Infant, Very Low Birth Weight / blood*
  • Leukocyte Count*
  • Male
  • Retrospective Studies