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Calculator: Adjusted cerebrospinal fluid white blood cell count in the presence of red blood cells

Calculator: Adjusted cerebrospinal fluid white blood cell count in the presence of red blood cells

Measured WBCs in CSF   #/microL
WBCs in blood  
RBCs in CSF   #/microL
RBCs in blood  

Important: Inputs must be complete to perform calculation.

Adjusted WBCs in CSF   #/microL
Decimal precision  


  • This formula should be used as a correction factor for the adjusted WBC count in the CSF in the presence of CSF RBCs.
  • In the equation, the amount being subtracted is the predicted CSF WBC count that would occur if all of the CSF WBCs were the result of blood contamination.
  • WBCs: white blood cells; CSF: cerebrospinal fluid; RBCs: red blood cells.

Equations used
Adjusted_WBCs_in_CSF = Measured_WBCs_in_CSF - ((WBCs_in_blood * RBCs_in_CSF) / (RBCs_in_blood * 1000000))


  1. Tunkel AR. Approach to the patient with central nervous system infection. In: Principles and Practice of Infectious Diseases, 7th ed, Mandell GL, Bennett JE, Dolin R (Eds), Churchill Livingstone Elsevier, Philadelphia 2010. Vol 1, p.1183.
  2. Bonadio WA. The cerebrospinal fluid: physiologic aspects and alterations associated with bacterial meningitis. Pediatr Infect Dis J 1992; 11:423.
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