Direct immunofluorescence; E-rosetting; T and B lymphocyte assays; B and T lymphocyte assays
A B and T cell screen is a laboratory test to determine the amount of T and B cells (lymphocytes) in the blood.
Blood is drawn from a vein, usually from the inside of the elbow or the back of the hand. The site is cleaned with germ-killing medicine (antiseptic). The health care provider wraps an elastic band around the upper arm to apply pressure to the area and make the vein swell with blood.
Next, the health care provider gently inserts a needle into the vein. The blood collects into an airtight vial or tube attached to the needle. The elastic band is removed from your arm.
Once the blood has been collected, the needle is removed, and the puncture site is covered to stop any bleeding.
Blood could also be obtained by capillary sample (fingerstick, or heelstick in infants).
After the blood is drawn it goes through a two-step process. First, the lymphocytes are separated from other blood parts. Once the cells are separated, identifiers are added to distinguish between T and B cells. The E-rosetting test identifies T cells and direct immunofluorescence is used to identify B cells.
Tell your health care provider if you have had any of the following, which might affect your T and B cell count:
When the needle is inserted to draw blood, some people feel moderate pain, while others feel only a prick or stinging sensation. Afterward, there may be some throbbing.
Your doctor may order this test if you have signs of certain diseases that weaken the immune system. It may also be used to distinguish between cancerous and noncancerous disease, especially cancers that involve the blood and bone marrow.
The test may also be used to determine how well treatment for certain conditions is working.
Bagby GC. Leukopenia and leukocytosis. In: Goldman L, Ausiello D, eds. Cecil Medicine. 23rd ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier;2007:chap 173.
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