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Alternative NamesDirect immunofluorescence; E-rosetting; T and B lymphocyte assays; B and T lymphocyte assays
Definition Return to top
A B and T cell screen is a laboratory test to determine the amount of T and B cells (lymphocytes) in the blood.
How the Test is Performed Return to top
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.
How to Prepare for the Test Return to top
Tell your health care provider if you have had any of the following, which might affect your T and B cell count:
How the Test Will Feel Return to top
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.
Why the Test is Performed Return to top
Your doctor may order this test if you have signs of an immunodeficiency diseases. It may also be used to distinguish between cancerous and noncancerous disease. The test may also be used to determine how well treatment for certain conditions is working.
Normal Results Return to top
Normal value ranges may vary slightly among different laboratories. Talk to your doctor about the meaning of your specific test results.
What Abnormal Results Mean Return to top
Abnormal T and B cell counts suggest possible diseases. Further testing is needed to confirm a diagnosis.
An increased T cell count may be due to:
An increased B cell count may be due to:
A decreased T cell count may be due to:
A decreased B cell count may be due to:
Risks Return to top
Veins and arteries vary in size from one patient to another and from one side of the body to the other. Obtaining a blood sample from some people may be more difficult than from others.
Other risks associated with having blood drawn are slight but may include: