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What does a left shift mean on a CBC blood test?

4 doctors weighed in
Dr. Gurmukh Singh
Pathology
2 doctors agree

In brief: Usually infection

Left shift means slightly pre-mature leukocytes in circulation which is usually due to infection.

In brief: Usually infection

Left shift means slightly pre-mature leukocytes in circulation which is usually due to infection.
Dr. Gurmukh Singh
Dr. Gurmukh Singh
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In brief: More immature cells

Left shift means that the white blood cells are more immature.
Depending on the degree of immaturity (blasts, metamyleocytes, promyelocytes) would determine what is wrong. Infections are a common cause of left shift, but other hematologic disorders are too: these would include bone marrow diseases, lymphoma and leukemia, among others.

In brief: More immature cells

Left shift means that the white blood cells are more immature.
Depending on the degree of immaturity (blasts, metamyleocytes, promyelocytes) would determine what is wrong. Infections are a common cause of left shift, but other hematologic disorders are too: these would include bone marrow diseases, lymphoma and leukemia, among others.
Dr. Lester Thompson
Dr. Lester Thompson
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