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You are here : 3-RX.com > Medical Encyclopedia > Tests and Exams > CBC


Alternate Names : Complete Blood Count

Overview & Description | Preparation & Expectations | Results and Values

A CBC, also called a complete blood count, is a screening test used to diagnose and manage many diseases. A CBC measures the status of important features of the blood, including the following:

  • mean corpuscular hemoglobin, which is also called MCH
  • mean corpuscular hemoglobin concentration, which is also called MCHC
  • mean corpuscular volume, also called MCV
  • number of platelets
  • number of red blood cells, also called RBCs
  • number of white blood cells, also called WBCs
  • percentage of blood composed of cells, called the hematocrit
  • total amount of hemoglobin in the blood
  • Who is a candidate for the test?

    A CBC is a part of routine blood testing done with physical examinations. It is also used to help diagnose many disorders, including problems with your blood, heart, kidneys, and nutritional status.

    How is the test performed?

    A blood sample is taken from a vein on your forearm or hand. First, the skin over your vein is cleaned with an antiseptic. Next, a strong rubber tube, called a tourniquet, is wrapped around your upper arm. This enlarges the veins in your lower arm by restricting blood flow through them. A fine needle is gently inserted into a vein, and the tourniquet is removed. Blood flows from your vein through the needle and into a syringe or vial. After the needle is withdrawn, the puncture site is covered with a bandage for a short time. This helps stop or prevent bleeding at the site.


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    CBC: Preparation & Expectations

    Author: David T. Moran, MD
    Reviewer: Sandy Keefe, RN, MSN
    Date Reviewed: 07/27/01

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