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WBC Count Across the Lifespan (Nursing)

by Rhonda Lawes

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    00:01 Okay, now this is kind of cool.

    00:03 We're going to look at the changes in normal white blood cell count across the lifespan.

    00:08 Now, I wouldn't exactly memorize this if I were you.

    00:11 Just kind of keep the references in mind.

    00:13 Newborns are 13-38.

    00:17 Now, remember, an adult was 5-10. So newborns -- I'm talking about the day of their birth -- they're a lot higher than an adult.

    00:24 Now, an infant at 2 weeks, it's back down closer to normal adult ranges of 5-20.

    00:30 So on the day they're born, their white blood cell count normal is 13-38.

    00:35 So you don't want to look at a newborn's lab values and go, "Wah. They must have some type of raging infection." No. That's normal for newborns.

    00:42 Now at 2 weeks, they kind of normal out again. Adults are 5-10, but pregnancy in the 3rd trimester, they're 5.8, which is pretty close to an adult, up to 13.2.

    00:56 So, again, if I'm looking at a CBC result of a woman who's pregnant in her 3rd trimester, I don't want to panic if I see something at 13.

    01:05 That doesn't mean they have any type of infection going on. It's normal.

    01:09 It is a lot of work to grow a human, and that's just part of the process.

    01:14 Okay. So this is an important point. That's why we've highlighted it for you.

    01:18 The numbers of leukocytes changes with age and during pregnancy.

    01:23 So make sure if you're looking at these special populations, you keep that in mind.

    01:28 Okay. Now, let's talk about lifespan. It's kind of a serious topic, right? So a newborn on the day of birth has a really high white blood cell count.

    01:37 It ranges from like 9,000-30,000 leukocytes.

    01:40 Now that number will fall to adult levels within 2 weeks.

    01:43 Remember, we talked about that on that previous slide.

    01:46 Now for the first few weeks after birth, they have a high percentage of neutrophils.

    01:51 Now, wait a minute, we're talking about 9,000-30,000 is leukocytes.

    01:56 That's the total number of white blood cell counts.

    01:58 Now we're going to break that down a little bit and talk about the different types of white blood cells.

    02:03 And in the first few weeks after birth, they have a high percentage of neutrophils.

    02:08 Now, later on, the lymphocytes will predominate, but for the first few weeks, they have a higher percentage of neutrophils. So, newborns, really high number of leukocytes as compared to an adult, but in the first few weeks after birth, they have a high percentage of neutrophils.

    02:25 Later on, that will switch to lymphocyte predominance.

    02:28 They'll have a higher percentage of lymphocytes.

    02:31 Until about 8 years of age, the lymphocytes are more predominant than the neutrophils.

    02:37 Now the elderly -- bless their hearts.

    02:39 Everything is kind of wearing out, right, their joints, their organs, their systems.

    02:44 So they'll have a slight decrease of total white blood cells, and it's probably normal for them.

    02:50 And remember, this is another important time for you look at trends.

    02:53 If you have other lab work from other times in these patients you can see what their white blood cell count normally runs.

    02:59 But their inflammatory system and their immune system is kind of wearing out.

    03:04 That's why they have a slight decrease in total white blood cells.

    03:08 Now, last, those pregnancy patients, right? They have leukocytosis.

    03:12 Primarily, it's because they have an increase in neutrophils with a slight increase in the lymphocytes.

    03:17 So when a woman is pregnant, she has elevated white cells.

    03:21 There is a lot going on down there, but, primarily an increase in neutrophils. Remember, that's one of the 5 types, and has a little bit of an increase in the lymphocytes.

    03:31 Okay, so, what's our takeaway from this slide? Well, remember, we know that you have extra high white cell count, newborns, and pregnant women, right? You're going to have low white cell counts if you're elderly.

    03:46 Then we broke it down and said in the first few weeks after birth, you have a higher percentage of neutrophils, and later, the lymphocytes become a higher percentage until about 8 years of age.

    03:57 So when you're looking, again, at this type of information, just see how you can group things together.

    04:02 We call that chunking information.

    04:04 Your brain does much better when you look for relationships between the information as you're learning


    About the Lecture

    The lecture WBC Count Across the Lifespan (Nursing) by Rhonda Lawes is from the course Complete Blood Count (CBC) (Nursing).


    Included Quiz Questions

    1. Newborn infant
    2. Infant at 2 weeks
    3. Adult client
    4. Hormonal young adult
    5. Pregnant client
    1. Elderly client
    2. Newborn infant
    3. Adult client
    4. Infants from 2 to 8 weeks of age

    Author of lecture WBC Count Across the Lifespan (Nursing)

     Rhonda Lawes

    Rhonda Lawes


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