What is WBC clumping?

Written by joyce brusin
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  • Introduction

    What is WBC clumping?

    WBC stands for white blood cells, also called leukocytes. When white blood cells clump together, or agglutinate, the phenomenon is called leukocyte agglutination. Blood tests are used to detect WBC clumping.

    Leukocyte agglutination can be observed in a laboratory. (mikroskop image by Birgit Reitz-Hofmann from Fotolia.com)

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    Cells and Diseases

    Among the several different types of white blood cells, neutrophils typically are involved in leukocyte agglutination. Neutrophil agglutination can occur in response to an assortment of diseases or conditions.

    Laboratory blood tests can detect WBC clumping. (blue pipette tips image by BigDog from Fotolia.com)

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    A less common type of WBC clumping involves lymphocytes, a different type of white blood cell. Lymphocytic agglutination is associated with specific diseases, including non-Hodgkins lymphoma and chronic lymphocytic leukaemia.

    Some WBC clumping can signal the presence of serious diseases. (Injection with Blood 3 image by Svenja98 from Fotolia.com)

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    Medical Treatments

    The man-made amino acid EDTA, used during chelation therapy to treat cholesterol build-up in blood vessels, can cause WBC clumping.

    Some medical treatments can cause WBC clumping. (blood testing image by John Keith from Fotolia.com)

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    Cooling Blood Sample

    WBC clumping also can be caused by a cooling temperature within a blood sample.

    Keeping a blood sample warm can help prevent misleading WBC clumping. (blood 3 image by Andrey Kiselev from Fotolia.com)

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    False Positives

    WBC clumping of any origin can cause blood tests to show a low white blood cell count. Avoiding the WBC clumping caused by temperature changes or other outside influences can help reduce misleading test results and unnecessary follow-up medical procedures or treatments.

    Misleading results can lead to unnecessary tests. (siringa image by Cristiano Pugno from Fotolia.com)

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