• Any reason other than leukemia for a very high white count?

    Asked by danellsar on Wednesday, April 11, 2012

    Any reason other than leukemia for a very high white count?

    My husband has been hospitalized for the last week. His white count keeps rising, even though he's on antibiotics. It was 21,000 a week ago. Today it was 29,500. Any explanation other than leukemia for this?? He's stage 4 esophageal cancer, and isn't doing so well.

    7 Answers from the Community

    7 answers
    • CarolLHRN's Avatar
      CarolLHRN

      High white count indicates an infection somewhere. I know he's on antibiotics but you have to be on the right antibiotic to fight the infection. If the antibiotic isn't effective against his particular infection then it won't do any good. If he has fevers, insist he has blood cultures. The culture will determine the germ and then they can figure out the right antibiotic. The doctors need to figure out the source of the infection.

      about 5 years ago
    • danellsar's Avatar
      danellsar

      Carol- He was inpatient all of last week while they tried to track this down (and while his white count rose daily). They did cultures and nothing grew. They had him on broad spectrum IV antibiotics, and the WBC went up every day. After 6 days, they sent him home (with a count of 27,000). Last night he developed severe back pain, edema, and couldn't walk, so they are admitting him again. His WBC is now 29,500. Still, nothing is showing up on the blood cultures.

      Beyond frustrated....

      about 5 years ago
    • susie81610's Avatar
      susie81610

      Sorry to hear not feeling well at all. Hope they find the problem. You guys are in my prayers and hope hubby feels better soon.
      Hugs to you and your family!
      I have no answers but want you to know think about you often.
      Susie xoxo

      about 5 years ago
    • CarolLHRN's Avatar
      CarolLHRN

      Hang in there. There has got to be something going on. Eventually they will figure it out. Keep the faith. We are all with you.

      about 5 years ago
    • susie81610's Avatar
      susie81610

      HI:
      Just wondering if you guys have gotten any answers yet? Hope things are turning around for you and the counts are coming down. Let us know how it's going when you have some time. Praying for you.
      Big Hugs
      Susie

      about 5 years ago
    • saltermd's Avatar
      saltermd

      High white cell count (leukocytosis) can have a multitude of causes. It is highly unlikely for cancer patients to have multiple simultaneous cancers (i.e., esophageal cancer and leukemia). Most often leukocytosis is due to infection, physical stress ( a sick body responding to illness, injury, etc.) or steroids (used for all sorts of things in cancer patients ). If patients are on any kind of steroids that tends to be the culprit, provided they are not running fevers that would otherwise indicate active infection.

      about 5 years ago
    • danellsar's Avatar
      danellsar

      They originally thought it was infection, and spent a week treating the infection while blood cultures grew. Nothing grew. He's not currently on steroids, been at least a month since the last course of those. They finally diagnosed blood clots, large numbers through both legs. He has a filter in his vein but it was clogged. He's done badly on anticoagulants in the past, so initially they were not going to do that. Eventually they did put him on heparin and also moved him to the telemetry floor so he could be constantly monitored. He's had 4 units of blood the last few days as he's been on heparin, and his white count is down from a high of 29,900 last Wednesday to 19,500 today.
      Ellen

      about 5 years ago

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