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Clinical Chemistry and Laboratory Medicine (CCLM)

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In This Section
Volume 49, Issue 2 (Feb 2011)


Association of nucleated red blood cells in blood and arterial oxygen partial tension

Sandra Kuert
  • Institute of Clinical Chemistry, Transfusion and Laboratory Medicine, BG-University Hospital Bergmannsheil, Ruhr-University Bochum, Bochum, Germany
  • Email:
/ Tim Holland-Letz
  • Department of Medical Informatics, Biometry and Epidemiology, Ruhr-University Bochum, Bochum, Germany
/ Jochen Friese
  • Department of Surgery, BG-University Hospital Bergmannsheil, Ruhr-University Bochum, Bochum, Germany
/ Axel Stachon
  • Institute of Laboratory and Transfusion Medicine, Westpfalz-Klinikum GmbH, Kaiserslautern, Germany
Published Online: 2010-12-01 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/CCLM.2011.041


Background: Several studies suggest that the detection of nucleated red blood cells (NRBCs) in hospitalized patients indicates an increased risk of mortality. This study evaluates the impact of low arterial oxygen partial tension (pO2) on NRBC appearance and prognosis in NRBC positive patients.

Methods: NRBCs in blood, arterial blood gases, and other laboratory parameters were monitored daily in 234 surgical intensive care patients. pO2 was assessed in relation to mortality and the detection of NRBCs.

Results: NRBCs were found in 67 patients (28.6%). Mortality was significantly higher in NRBC positive patients (41.8%, 28/67) than in those that were NRBC negative (3.0%, 5/167). Multivariate logistic regression showed an increased mortality in NRBC positive patients (odds ratio 5.79; 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.07–31.33, p<0.05). NRBC positive patients showed significantly lower pO2 levels during intensive care treatment than NRBC negative patients. Prior to the initial detection of NRBCs in the peripheral blood, pO2 levels were significantly lower in patients who died than in surviving patients. After the first appearance of NRBCs, no significant difference in pO2 between these groups was found.

Conclusions: The detection of NRBCs is of prognostic significance concerning patient mortality. In NRBC positive patients, hypoxemia occurs more frequently. Low-levels of pO2 seem to precede the appearance of NRBCs, especially in those patients with high risk of mortality.

Keywords: arterial oxygen partial tension; mortality; nucleated red blood cells

About the article

Corresponding author: Sandra Kuert, Institute of Clinical Chemistry, Transfusion and Laboratory Medicine, BG-University Hospital Bergmannsheil, Ruhr-University, Buerkle-de-la-Camp-Platz 1, Bochum 44789, Germany Phone: +49-234-302-0, Fax: +49-234-302-6614

Received: 2010-03-31

Accepted: 2010-09-24

Published Online: 2010-12-01

Published in Print: 2011-02-01

Citation Information: Clinical Chemistry and Laboratory Medicine, ISSN (Online) 1437-4331, ISSN (Print) 1434-6621, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/CCLM.2011.041. Export Citation

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