WHITE BLOOD CELL COUNTS IN PATIENTS UNDERGOING ABDOMINAL SURGERY


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Abstract

Background:The role of pre-operative white blood cell counts (WBCC) in patients with an acute abdomen is contentious.Methods:This study documents the association between pre-operative WBCC and the extent of intraperitoneal inflammation at the time of surgery in a heterogeneous group of 1166 patients undergoing abdominal surgery.Results:WBCC failed to adequately discriminate between groups of patients with varying degrees of intraperitoneal inflammation. For example, only 31%(37/118) of the patients with either free pus or an abscess within the peritoneal cavity had a WBCC > 15.0 × 109/L.Conclusions:There is a need to replace the WBCC with more powerful predictors of inflammation within the peritoneal cavity.

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