Full Blood Count (FBC) and Other Hematological Reference Ranges

Reference ranges are important because they provide a baseline for interpreting laboratory test results. By comparing a patient’s test results to the reference range, healthcare providers can identify any values that fall outside of the normal range. This can help them to diagnose diseases, monitor the effectiveness of treatment, and identify potential complications.

Reference ranges are established by testing a large group of healthy people and determining the range of values that includes 95% of the results. This means that 2.5% of healthy people will have test results that fall outside of the reference range. This does not necessarily mean that they are sick, but it may indicate a need for further testing or evaluation.

Reference ranges can vary depending on a number of factors, including age, sex, race, ethnicity, and pregnancy status. This is why it is important to use a reference range that is appropriate for the patient’s population group.

Here are some specific examples of how reference ranges are used in hematology:

  • A full blood count (FBC) is a common hematology test that measures the levels of different types of blood cells in the blood. The reference ranges for FBC values vary depending on the patient’s age and sex. For example, the reference range for the white blood cell count is higher in children than in adults.
  • A prothrombin time (PT) test is used to measure how long it takes for the blood to clot. The reference range for the PT test is different for people who are taking blood thinners and for those who are not.
  • A platelet count is used to measure the number of platelets in the blood. Platelets are involved in blood clotting. A low platelet count can increase the risk of bleeding. The reference range for the platelet count is the same for both men and women.

Reference ranges are an important tool for healthcare providers in the diagnosis and management of hematologic diseases.


Full blood count (FBC)

White blood cell (WBC) Count4.1 – 10.344.3 – 11.68x 10^9/L
Red blood cell (RBC) count4.44 – 5.973.89 – 5.25x 10^12/L
Hemoglobin (Hb) level13.02 – 17.1611.25 – 15.19g/dL
Haematocrit39.8 – 51.0234.7 – 45.35%
Mean cell volume (MCV)80.72 – 96.9378.63 – 97.22fL
Mean cell hemoglobin (MCH)27.43 – 32.46pg
Mean cell hemoglobin concentration (MCHC)31.77 – 35.21g/dL
Platelet count (PLT)155.45 – 389.87x 10^9/L
Red cell distribution width (RDW)11.7 – 14.43%
Neutrophil count (NEUT#)1.87 – 6.921.94 – 7.44x 10^9/L
Lymphocyte count (LYMPH#)1.15 – 3.77x 10^9/L
Monocyte count (MONO#)0.22 – 0.84x 10^9/L
Eosinophil count (EO#)0.04 – 0.65x 10^9/L
Basophil count (BASO#)0.01 – 0.1x 10^9/L
NEUT%*40.86 – 72.08%
LYMPH%19.94 – 47.59%
MONO%4.03 – 11.8%
EO%0.55 – 8.59%
BASO%0.13 – 1.73%
Reticulocyte count (RET#)35.75 – 107.5x 10^9/L
RET%0.48 – 2.07%

Lymphocyte subsets

ParameterReference RangeUnit
CD3#694 – 2362cell/uL
CD4#391 – 1548cell/uL
CD8#185 – 1049cell/uL
CD3%51.19 – 81.65%
CD4%26.38 – 54%
CD8%12.89 – 40.69%
CD4/8 ratio0.77 – 3.93

Erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR)

17 – 50 yr1 – 73 – 9mm/hr
51- 60 yr2 – 105 – 15mm/hr

Hemoglobin subtypes

ParameterReference rangeUnit
HbA196.1 – 99.0%
HbA21.6 – 3.5%
Hb F0.0 – 1.4%

Hematology-related biochemical parameters

ParameterReference rangeUnit
Serum iron11.5 – 30.5umol/L
TIBC45.5 – 75umol/L
Transferrin saturation15 – 47.5%
Ferritin20 – 325ug/L
Serum vitamin B12180 – 1000pg/mL
Serum folate7 – 45nmol/L
Red cell folate300 – 1000nmol/L
Serum soluble truncated transferrin receptor (sTfR)9 – 28nmol/L
Serum haptoglobin30 – 200mg/dL
Serum erythropoietin4 – 19 mU/mL

Coagulation profile

ParameterReference rangeUnit
Prothrombin time12 – 14Seconds (s)
Activated partial thromboplastin time (APTT)24 – 35s
Thrombin time (TT)12 – 17s
D-Dimer for DVT/PE<400ng/mL
Protein S65 – 140%
Protein C70 – 140%
Antithrombin80 – 120%
Factor II50 -150%
Factor V50 -150%
Factor VII50 -150%
Factor VIII50 – 200%
Factor IX50 – 150%
Factor X50 – 150%
Factor XI50 – 150%
Factor XII50 -150%
Willebrand factor activity60 – 200%%
Willebrand factor antigen50 – 160%
Factor VIII-inhibitor0 – 0.5 Bethesda unit
Fibrin degradation products (latex particles)<20ug/mL
Platelet Aggregation (in platelet-rich plasma)
with collagen (2ug/mL)70-95%
with arachidonic acid (0.5mM)70-100%
with ADP 5uM70-90 %
with ADP 10uM70 – 90%
with epinephrine (5uM)75-90%
with ristocetin (1.0 mg/mL)60 -80%
Platelet ATP release (in blood)
with thrombin (1 unit)>0.5nmoles of ATP
with collagen (2 mg/mL)0.5 – 1.7nmoles of ATP
(5mg/mL)0.9 – 1.7nmoles of ATP
with arachidonic acid (0.5mM)0.56 – 1.4nmoles of ATP
ADP (5mM)0 – 0.7nmoles of ATP
ADP (19mM)0.38 – 1.71nmoles of ATP

Disclaimer: This article is intended for informational purposes only and is specifically targeted toward medical students. It is not intended to be a substitute for informed professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. While the information presented here is derived from credible medical sources and is believed to be accurate and up-to-date, it is not guaranteed to be complete or error-free. This article does not provide exhaustive information on all aspects of the discussed hematological disorders, and new research and understanding may emerge over time. See additional information.


  1. Jastinton A. LAB VALUES INTERPRETATION: The Indispensable Guide to Quickly Learn and Interpret The Laboratory Results.Find and Understand Everything That Impacts a Diagnosis of Disease. 2021.

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