What is a normal blood count and what do blood test abbreviations mean?

Physicians use a blood test known as a Complete Blood Count, or CBC, to understand a patient's overall health and the health of blood cells. The test results show the counts of all types of blood cells, as well as how those cells are differentiated. The following table will help you sort through the differing counts and understand the meaning of the abbreviations.

Normal Blood Counts as shown on a Complete Blood Count
(CBC) w/ Differential
TYPE DESCRIPTION ABBREVIATION  NORMAL RANGE   UNITS OF MEASURE
Red Blood Cells Hematocrit HCT 38.8 - 50 Percent
  Hemoglobin HB 130 - 180 Grams/Liter
  Mean Corpuscular
Hemaglobin
MCH 28.0 - 32.0 Picograms
  Mean Corpuscular 
Hemoglobin Concentration
MCHC 310 - 360 Grams/Liter
  Mean Corpuscular Volume MCV 78 - 96 Femtoliters
(a quadrillionth of a Liter) 
  Mean Platelet Volume MPV 5.0 - 15.0 Femtoliters
(a quadrillionth of a liter)
  Platelet Count   150 - 400

109 / Liter
(billion/liter)

  Red Blood Cell Count or
Erythrocytes 
RBC or ERCS 4.00 - 6.00

1012 / Liter (trillion/liter)

  Red Blood Cell
Distribution Width 
RDW 10.0 - 14.5%  
White Blood Cells White Blood Cells
Count or Leukocytes 
WBC or LKCS 4.0 - 11.0

109 / Liter
(billion/liter)

Differential (the types of white blood cells that make up the total white count) 
  Basophils   0 - 0.3 109 / Liter
(billion/liter)
  Eosinophils   0 - 0.7 109 / Liter
(billion/liter) 
  Neutrophils   2.5 - 7.5 109 / Liter
(billion/liter) 
  Lymphocytes   1.0 - 4.0 109 / Liter
(billion/liter) 
  Monocytes   0 - 4.0

109 / Liter
(billion/liter)