- Last Update On : 2012-12-24
Enumeration of band neutrophils has long been a mainstay in the laboratory diagnosis of bacterial infection. Recently the clinical utility of the band count has been challenged, as summarized in a recent review (Clinics in Laboratory Medicine, 22: 101-136, 2002). Modern automated hematology instruments provide an accurate and precise 5-part differential count, which includes the absolute neutrophil count. A band count always requires a manual differential count, a procedure which is not only labor-intensive, but also inaccurate and imprecise, and for which there is little evidence-based justification.
Elevation of the band count is not specific for infection, but may be secondary to inflammatory processes, tissue damage or necrosis, neoplasia, intoxication, metabolic abnormalities, hemorrhage, hemolysis or drugs. A band count thus has limited utility in the diagnosis of infection in sick, hospitalized patients who are likely to have bandemia associated with an underlying ill