Absolute Neutrophil Count: Definition, Low and High ANC Meaning

Absolute neutrophil count (ANC) measures how many neutrophil granulocytes in a person’s blood. Physicians and lab service technicians compute ANC based upon the variety of white blood cells, typically integrated on the portion of fully grown and immature neutrophils. Immature neutrophils are known as bands. The absolute neutrophil count can be too low or expensive, triggered by a variety of possible health conditions.

Absolute Neutrophil Count: Definition, Low, High

What Is Absolute Neutrophil Count?

Absolute neutrophil count is determined indirectly by increasing the leukocyte count times the percent of neutrophils in the differential of the white count. A normal range for ANC is 1.5 to 8.0, which equates to 1500 to 8000/mm3. When a patient’s level is safe, it suggests no activities have to be restricted.

Test Calculation

  • WBC count: 6,000 cells/mm3 of blood
  • Segs: 30% of the WBCs
  • Bands: 3% of the WBCs
  • Neutrophils (segs + bands): 33% of the WBCs
  • ANC: 33% X 6,000 = 2,000/ mm3
  • ANC of 2,000/ mm3, by convention = 2.0
  • Normal variety: 1.5 to 8.0 (1,500 to 8,000/ mm3)
  • Interpretation: Normal


Neutrophils are responsible for assisting the body fight versus infection. When neutrophils are low, a person becomes susceptible to disease and infection. This in some cases takes place following chemotherapy or radiation treatment, or a blood or marrow transplant. In time it ought to increase as new blood cells develop and develop.

Low Absolute Neutrophil Count

An ANC of less than 500 is stated to have a low. Lots of things can cause a low neutrophil count. The condition is called neutropenia.


  • B12 or Folic Acid Deficiency. Insufficient B12 in the system causes an exhaustion of neutrophils. When there is a deficiency, the body is not able to perform generally.
  • Severe Bacterial Infection. Severe infections can ruin neutrophils. This typically happens when pus kinds in the blood.
  • Aplastic Anemia. Aplastic anemia takes place when there is an unusual decrease in cells in the blood, generally since bone marrow is malfunctioning. Damage can be triggered by medication, radiation, or infection.
  • Preleukemia and Leukemia. Leukemia is cancer that takes place in the blood that causes bone marrow to be replaced by leukocyte. Preleukemia happens when there is a decrease in neutrophils, but full-blown cancer is not yet present.
  • Autoimmune Diseases. This occurs when the body produces proteins referred to as antineutrophil that ruin neutrophils. An example of this takes place in patients who struggle with lupus.
  • Hypersplenism. This condition causes an abnormal enhancement in the spleen and an increase in white blood cells. The spleen helps to fend off infection and eliminates old red cell.
  • Felty’s Syndrome. This syndrome causes a group of irregular cell changes and typically accompanies rheumatoid arthritis. This is another kind of immune condition.
  • Cardiopulmonary Bypass. This procedure can cause a low neutrophil count. This is an operation that moves blood flow far from the heart an lungs to the aorta.
  • Dialysis. Dialysis is used to support kidney function. It can set off a low neutrophil count.
  • Medication Effects. Some medications cause neutrophil counts to drop. Generally, medications used to treat allergic reactions, psychosis, and vomiting are perpetrators.


Treating neutropenia requires discovering the underlying reason for the problem. Once it is figured out why the count has dropped, a doctor will recommend the appropriate treatment. Alternatives include:.

  • Administration. This tracks the white blood cell growth in the body.
  • Antibiotics. These assist combat infections that cause neutrophils to drop.
  • Granulocyte Transfusions. This is a kind of leukocyte that is filled with tiny granules. A transfusion increases the number in the system.
  • Corticosteroid Therapy. There are two hormones, glucocorticoids and mineralocorticoids, made by the external portion of the adrenal gland. Both assistance neutrophil health.
  • Intravenous Immune Globulin. This is used for cases of immune-mediated neutropenia.

High Absolute Neutrophil Count

When a neutrophil count increases above 8000 it is considered high.


  • High Level Stress. Neutrophil counts increase when stress is placed on the body. It may be caused by exercise, nerves, or seizures.
  • Onset Bacterial Infection. The onset of a bacterial infection can harm or cause swelling in tissues, which can increase neutrophil levels.
  • Sudden Kidney Failure. Kidney failure causes a spike in neutrophil counts.
  • Ketoacidosis. This occurs when acids and poisons are produced by the body. When the condition is chronic, it causes neutrophil levels to rise.
  • Eclampsia. Eclampsia is rare, however it is extremely major. It occurs when pregnant women experience convulsions as an outcome of a moderate or severe case of preeclampsia. This generally happens in the second half of a pregnancy and includes the unexpected beginning of hypertension, high protein in the urine, and edema.
  • Cancer. Neutrophil counts can increase when cancer spreads in the body.
  • Hemolytic Anemia. This occurs when red blood cells are destroyed earlier than usual. These cells are accountable for bring oxygen to the blood.
  • Polycythemia Vera. This causes a long-term boost in red blood cells, however doctors are not exactly sure why it happens.
  • Myeloid Metaplasia. This is a condition that causes bone marrow to grow in unusual places in the body.
  • Medication Effects. Some medications can activate a spike in neutrophil counts. An example of this is corticosteroids (like what is used to raise numbers when they low). These medications act in the same method a natural corticosteroid hormone would in the body. These hormonal agents manage the body’s use of nutrients and the salt and water material of urine.

Last Update - September 25, 2017


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