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White Blood Cell Disorders (Pediatric)

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What are white blood cell disorders?

White blood cells (WBCs), also referred to as leukocytes, are the cells of the immune system that protect the body against infectious disease, allergens, and other foreign invaders. White blood cells are produced in the bone marrow or blood factory. There are several types of WBCs in the blood, each with a specific job and function. Disease states and disorders occur when either too few or too many white blood cells are present.

The most common forms of this condition are: 

  • Leukocytosis, when there is an Increase in the number of white blood cells. The etiology or causes of leukocytosis are infection and cancer.
  • Leukopenia, when there is a decrease in the number of white blood cells. 
  • Neutropenia, when there are fewer neutrophils in the blood. Neutrophils are the most common type of white blood cell and do the job of defending the body against bacterial and fungal infection.

How are white blood cell disorders diagnosed?

Diagnosis entails:

  • History
  • Physical examination
  • Complete blood count
  • Examination of the WBC morphology
  • Bone marrow aspirate and biopsy
  • Autoimmune testing
  • Genetic testing that may include the family

What is the treatment for white blood cell disorders?

Our pediatric oncology team determines treatment of white blood cells disorders aimed at the underlying cause of the change in cell counts.