YoungNa Lee-Kim, MD, MEd, FAAP: Interpreting Complete Blood Count

October 9, 2021
Giuliana Grossi

In this video interview, Dr. Lee-Kim explains the importance of understanding the results of a Complete Blood Count before rushing to refer a patient to a hematologist.

A Complete Blood Count (CBC) is one of the most common tests ordered by pediatricians. Abnormalities on the Complete Blood Count are the main reason pediatricians refer to hematologists, according to YoungNa Lee-Kim, MD, MEd, FAAP, Associate Professor, Baylor College of Medicine, Texas Children's Hospital.

Lee-Kim addressed this topic in her presentation for the American Academy of Pediatrics Conference. Her presentation: How to Interpret Complete Blood Count, goes into the nuances of abnormalities that might show up on a Complete Blood Count and when there is truly cause for concern.

"It's really important to distinguish when abnormalities are really serious and need to be referred immediately," Lee-Kim said, "versus those that are more benign and can be followed by the pediatrician or just repeated over time."

Some of the common causes for abnormalities on the Complete Blood Count are discussed in her presentation. Lee-Kim also goes into how other parameters of the Complete Blood Count can be used to inform decisions for referral.

Another thing to think about when screening results, is that some labs are age-adjusted, but some are not. Lee-Kim urged providers to remember that not all things flagged as abnormal are necessarily abnormal for that child's age group.

There are other factors to consider when screening laboratory results. Looking at the results in the full context of the patient is imperative. And then determining what's truly abnormal and how serious that abnormality is.


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