Which lab tests are performed in the workup of pediatric acute myelocytic leukemia (AML)?

Updated: Sep 12, 2017
  • Author: Mark E Weinblatt, MD; Chief Editor: Jennifer Reikes Willert, MD  more...
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The hallmark of AML is the reduction or absence of normal hematopoietic elements. Anemia is usually normocytic, with a lower-than-expected reticulocyte count for the hemoglobin level. The decrease in hemoglobin levels can range from minimal to profound.

Laboratory tests used in patients with AML include the following:

  • Blood counts with differential: WBC counts may be decreased or elevated; platelet counts usually low

  • Blood smears: Primitive granulocyte/monocyte precursors observed; Auer rods present in specimens of circulating blood from many AML patients but particularly prominent in pediatric APL

  • Blood chemistries: Frequently elevated serum uric acid, serum muramidase (lysozyme), LDH levels

  • Blood and urine cultures: Always obtain in a child with fever and leukemia

  • Coagulation tests: Perform with initial diagnosis for evidence of DIC indicating APL

  • Histochemical staining: Standard Wright-Giemsa stains and histochemical stains to differentiate the various acute leukemias

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