What is the role of a CBC count and differential in the diagnosis of status asthmaticus?

Updated: Jun 17, 2020
  • Author: Constantine K Saadeh, MD; Chief Editor: John J Oppenheimer, MD  more...
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Answer

Obtain a CBC count and differential to evaluate for infectious causes (eg, pneumonia, viral infections such as croup), allergic bronchopulmonary aspergillosis, and Churg-Strauss vasculitis. When elevated, serum lactate levels (when obtained early at the onset of status asthmaticus) can correlate with improved lung function.

A CBC count and differential may demonstrate an elevated white blood cell count, with or without a shift to the left. The CBC count may also indicate a bacterial infection. However, beta-agonists and corticosteroids may result in demargination of white cells with an increase in the peripheral white cell count. [10, 11]


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