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What is WBC clumping?

Updated July 19, 2017

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.

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.

Leukaemia

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.

Medical Treatments

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

Cooling Blood Sample

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

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.

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About the Author

Joyce Brusin works as a freelance medical writer specializing in clinical medicine and consumer health. Over the past six years, her work has appeared in Radiologic Technology, the Medical Disability Adviser, FirstConsult, and other publications for medical professionals and the general public.