Absolute Neutrophil Count

Batul Nafisa Baxamusa Apr 14, 2019
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Absolute neutrophil count helps in measuring the number of neutrophil granulocytes in the blood. Here is some information that will help you understand the clinical significance of neutrophil count in a blood report.
When you are advised to undergo a complete blood count (CBC), you will find it helps measure the levels of the three blood cells. These blood cells include the red blood cells, white blood cells and platelets.
In your white blood cell count column, you will find absolute neutrophil count (ANC) mentioned. This neutrophil count is very important in case the patient is suffering from an infection, inflammation and even bone cancer.

Normal Count

White blood cells help in removal of bacteria and foreign substances that invade the body. White blood cells or leukocytes consists of different types of cells. One of these cells includes the neutrophil. These cells make up more than half of the total white blood count.
These neutrophils help in fighting infection and removal of foreign bodies. The normal ANC is measured above 1,500 cells/µL. If the number of neutrophil falls below 500 cells/µL , it is called neutropenia. If the number of neutrophils is too high it leads to neutrophilia.

High Count

When a patient shows high number of neutrophil granulocytes, this condition is called neutrophilia. This condition is seen in cases of bacterial infections, pyogenic infections, actute inflammation, burn injuries, heart attack, etc. It may even be seen in case of chronic myelogenous leukemia. Sometimes, appendicitis also causes high neutrophil count.

Low Count

Low neutrophil count is a condition that is known as neutropenia medically. This condition occurs due to presence of congenital disorders that cause poor bone marrow function. It can even be seen in case of bone cancers that lead to damage of bone marrow.
A few autoimmune diseases also destroy the bone marrow cells and neutrophils causing a significant drop of WBC. Recurrent infections that occur before the immune system gets a chance to recover can lead to low absolute neutrophil count. Use of certain drugs and chemotherapy may cause neutropenia.

Absolute Neutrophil Count Calculation

When you get your blood work done, the lab report will give you information related to many factors. In this case, you may have to figure out your ANC yourself. Some labs call ANC as 'Absolute Granulocytes' count.
If you have to figure out the ANC, you will need to follow a formula. If you place the right counts in the formula, you will be able to get your correct ANC. You will need to multiply the total neutrophils (segmented neutrophils% + segmented bands%) with white blood count.

For Example

WBC count is 1.0, Polys or segmented neutrophil% is 14.8% and the bands are 6%. The formula is:
(segmented neutrophils% + segmented bands%)/ 100 x WBC count in multiples of 1000s
Thus, 14.8 + 6 /100 = 0.208 cells/ml

Sum of segmented% and band% neutrophil count is multiplied by WBC (1.0 x 1000 = 1000)
0.208 x 1000 = 208
Total ANC of the patient is 208 cells/mm3.
If you have to calculate the absolute neutrophil count from absolute numbers, follow the given formula:

Absolute polys + Absolute bands multiplied by 1000 = ANC

By taking into consideration the values from the previous example, we get:

0.148 + 0.06 x 1000 = 208 cells/ml.
The result helps indicate the following conditions:
  • Normal value: ≥ 1500 cells/mm3
  • Mild Neutropenia: ≥1000 - <1500/mm3
  • Moderate Neutropenia: ≥500 - <1000/mm3
  • Severe Neutropenia: < 500/mm3
If you have been advised a CBC test, use the earlier formula to know your ANC count. However, it is better to consult a doctor to help interpret your test results.
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