CBC blood test

Complete blood count; Anemia - CBC

A complete blood count (CBC) test measures the following:

  • The number of red blood cells (RBC count)
  • The number of white blood cells (WBC count)
  • The total amount of hemoglobin in the blood
  • The fraction of the blood composed of red blood cells (hematocrit)

The CBC test also provides information about the following measurements:

  • Average red blood cell size (MCV)
  • Hemoglobin amount per red blood cell (MCH)
  • The amount of hemoglobin relative to the size of the cell (hemoglobin concentration) per red blood cell (MCHC)

The platelet count is also most often included in the CBC.

Red blood cells, sickle cell

Sickle cell anemia is an inherited blood disease in which the red blood cells produce abnormal pigment (hemoglobin). The abnormal hemoglobin causes deformity of the red blood cells into crescent or sickle-shapes, as seen in this photomicrograph.

Megaloblastic anemia - view of red blood cells

This picture shows large, dense, oversized, red blood cells (RBCs) that are seen in megaloblastic anemia. Megaloblastic anemia can occur when there is a deficiency of vitamin B-12.

Red blood cells, tear-drop shape

This photomicrograph shows one of the abnormal shapes that red blood cells (RBCs) may assume, a tear-drop shape. Normally, RBCs are round.

Red blood cells - normal

This photomicrograph shows normal red blood cells (RBCs) as seen in the microscope after staining.

Red blood cells - elliptocytosis

Elliptocytosis is a hereditary disorder of the red blood cells (RBCs). In this condition, the RBCs assume an elliptical shape, rather than the typical round shape.

Red blood cells - spherocytosis

Spherocytosis is a hereditary disorder of the red blood cells (RBCs), which may be associated with a mild anemia. Typically, the affected RBCs are small, spherically shaped, and lack the light centers seen in normal, round RBCs.

Red blood cells - multiple sickle cells

Sickle cell anemia is an inherited disorder in which abnormal hemoglobin (the red pigment inside red blood cells) is produced. The abnormal hemoglobin causes red blood cells to assume a sickle shape, like the ones seen in this photomicrograph.

Basophil (close-up)

Basophils are a specific type of white blood cell. These cells are readily stained with basic dyes (this is where the name comes from). Note the dark grains inside the cellular fluid (cytoplasm) of this basophil. Basophils make up only a small portion of the number of white blood cells but are important parts of the body's immune response. They release histamine and other chemicals that act on the blood vessels when the immune response is triggered.

Malaria, microscopic view of cellular parasites

Malarial parasites are visible within the red blood cells. They are stained a dark bluish color.

Malaria, photomicrograph of cellular parasites

Malaria is a disease caused by parasites. This picture shows dark orange-stained malaria parasites inside red blood cells (a) and outside the cells (b). Note the large cells that look like targets; it is unknown how these target cells are related to this disease.

Red blood cells - sickle cells

These crescent or sickle-shaped red blood cells (RBCs) are present with Sickle cell anemia, and stand out clearly against the normal round RBCs. These abnormally shaped cells may become entangled and block blood flow in the small blood vessels (capillaries).

Red blood cells - sickle and Pappenheimer

This photomicrograph of red blood cells (RBCs) shows both sickle-shaped and Pappenheimer bodies.

Red blood cells, target cells

These abnormal red blood cells (RBCs) resemble targets. These cells are seen in association with some forms of anemia, and following the removal of the spleen (splenectomy).

Formed elements of blood

Blood transports oxygen and nutrients to body tissues and returns waste and carbon dioxide. Blood distributes nearly everything that is carried from one area in the body to another place within the body. For example, blood transports hormones from endocrine organs to their target organs and tissues. Blood helps maintain body temperature and normal pH levels in body tissues. The protective functions of blood include clot formation and the prevention of infection.

Complete blood count - series - Indication

The complete blood count (CBC) is test, used to diagnose and monitor numerous diseases. It can reflect problems with fluid volume (such as dehydration) or loss of blood. It can show abnormalities in the production, life span, and destruction of blood cells. It can reflect acute or chronic infection, allergies, and problems with clotting. The CBC test identifies and counts the 7 types of cells found in the blood, red blood cell, neutrophil, eosinophil, basophil, lymphocyte, monocyte, and platelet.

How the Test is Performed

How to Prepare for the Test

How the Test will Feel

Why the Test is Performed

Normal Results

What Abnormal Results Mean