I've heard a lot of nurses talk about a left shift but I've never really understood it. Can someone explain...
Quote from PJMommy
Left shift typically means there are more band cells (% bands) in a CBC with differential. I personally think of bands as baby white cells. If the body is producing and mobilizing a large number of new white cells, then the body is attempting to fight off a very active infection. Normally, we only have 2-6% of our white cells as bands. If that percentage increases, then the infection is such that the body feels it's necessary to kick the baby white cells out of the nest before their time in order to join in the fight.
Great Video on Left Shifts...
Mar 30, '10
I saw one today on a lab report in ICU. I had only heard about in on my med surge Oncology Rotation. It was explained to me that not only could it mean infection but could also mean a transition to certain types of cancer. I will explain what I saw on labs but don't hold me to exact numbers as this was at the end of my over night shift (12 hour shift 7p-7a) and I did 4 shifts in five days plus I work a full time job and I am in my last semester as a SN. LoL!
They showed the normal % ranges on left of page bands where 1%-3% and underneath them segs where 30%-40%. Then across the page where the results and this pt had bands in the 70 percentile range and segs wehere at 9%. This was a good example of a huge shift to the left. The term had originally been coined by where the stats where positioned on the lab reports and how suddenly the WBC would shift to the left which happen to be the segs side.
My patient had a rect temp of 104.5 so infection was a good possibility. He had O.D. issues as well. Recently found a mass in his spine. Not really sure what caused this shift to the left however lab also asked for a redraw from same pt.
Last edit by muskylounge on Mar 30, '10
: Reason: spelling