Elevated White Blood Cell Count (WBC) and Tietze’s Syndrome

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In the majority of Tietze’s syndrome cases reported in the literature, patients have normal blood test results. However, it’s worth bearing in mind that they have only been a few, limited studies of the disease, so no real conclusions can be drawn from that statement. The best information I can draw from the journals is that some cases of Tietze’s Syndrome (most likely, those causes by a virus or other infection) may result in a high white blood cell (WBC) count.

WBC not a lot of help for Tietze’s Syndrome Diagnosis

Because of the low number of reported cases of Tietze’s, we have to go back several decades to find much of the information. Despite it being older information, much of it is still relevant today. For example, the following researchers found increased numbers of white blood cells in blood tests of a few Tietze’s patients: GH Frey, De Haas, and Landon and Maplas: one patient also had a higher than normal erythrocyte sedimentation rate (a common measure of inflammation)
Many later researchers confirmed these earlier findings, but some did not.

Doctors Ines I. Mbaga, John N. Greene, and Ramon L. Sandin, from the H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center & Research Institute in Tampa, say that a diagnosis must be all-encompassing. For Tietze’s syndrome and related diseases, blood tests may be a factor but they don’t offer much diagnostic help. “Laboratory studies usually are not helpful since an elevated white blood cell count or sedimentation rate is nonspecific, and blood cultures are frequently negative.”

Frey, G. H. (1956). A.M.A. Arch. Surg., 73, 951.
Haas, W. H. D. de (1952). Ned. T. Geneesk., 96, 254. (Quoted by
Kayser, 1956.)
Landon & Malpas. Ann Rheum Dis 1959 18: 249-254

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