I have had a persistently high white blood count. In September, I ended up in the hospital for chest pains (I am a heavy smoker). It was 17,000. Two months later I had my WBC checked again and it was at 12,000. I thought it was an infection from 2 months earlier when my chest was hurting, and thought everything was coming back to normal. Well it is once again 17,000. I had an HIV and hepatitis test done, both were negative. I don't feel like I have an infection. Maybe alittle fatigued at times. I know my neutrophils were at 92% and my B-lymphocytes were at 15%. Not sure what that means. Now they want to do a bone marrow biopsy. I really don't want to do this. Does this WBC really warrant enough to go through a biopsy or are they wanting to do it needlessly? What could an elevated WBC mean?
1. Make sure a pathologist or hematologist has looked at your blood smear under the microscope.
2. Have someone check your LAP score (leukocyte alkaline phosphatase). If it is low, you may have a serious bone marrow disease.
3.If your hemoglobin level and platelet levels are abnormal as well (high or low) then definitely get a bone marrow biopsy.
Many smokers have an elevated white cell count, so if the docs find a normal LAP score and rest of your blood counts are normal and hematologist/pathologist feel there are no immature cells in your blood smear, then it is reasonable to hold back on a biopsy. However, the only way to be 100% sure would be to do the biopsy. In expireienced hands, its not too bad.Definitely some pain involved and mild risk of bleeding and infection, but it does give a lot of info.
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