Sean Fox over at the always informative Pediatric EM Morsels just posted a great, brief review of the “usefulness” of CBC – especially WBC in febrile children. It is entitled “Poor Utility of WBC Count for the Evaluation of Fever.”
You should all go read it – here’s the link.
My main point about CBC and WBC is that it is most useful when you have a defined reason to get it and it is supported by your clinical assessment and a validated schema that utilizes other tests in concert. Don’t just get a CBC to see if a patient has an infection. Also, have a reassuring discussion ready to go for the family and patient that has had a previous CBC that was sent, got them worried, but the kid looks great.
You can follow Sean on Twitter @PedEMMorsels