[Nonsymptomatic leukocytosis]

D Sauter, K Spiekermann, M Feuring-Buske, J Braess
MMW Fortschritte der Medizin 2007 April 12, 149 (15): 29-32; quiz 33
Leukocytosis is a condition often met with in the clinical and ambulatory setting. Although it is usually caused by an increase in the numbers of neutrophilic granulocytes, an increase in other leukocytes populations may also account for leukocytosis. Etiologically, both primary pathological conditions affecting the white blood cells, such as various forms of leukemia and lymphomas, and also rare genetic disorders must be considered. Decidedly more common, however, are reactive changes caused by infections, cigarette smoking, chronic inflammation, necrotic tissue or certain drugs. Although moderate leukocytosis in the absence of a clinical correlate and/or an apparent trigger, requires no diagnostic clarification, it should be kept under observation. If the etiology is uncertain, or a treatment-requiring disorder is suspected, the differential blood count is at the focus of the further diagnostic work-up. Depending upon the findings, this is supplemented by additional laboratory parameters, bone marrow examination, microbiological investigations and imaging procedures. Leukostasis resulting from vasoocclusion in the presence of very high numbers of leukocytes represents an emergency situation, and is an indication for leukapheresis.

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