I had a spinal fluid culture and my Red Blood Cell count is high, why?

Posted by bdenny9683 @bdenny9683, Jun 2 9:36am

I had a VP shunt placed back in September 2023, it malfunctioned and I had another one placed in April 2024 due to the ventricles in my brain being so small and clogging the device. I have been having constant headaches and neck pain since the 2nd one has been placed. They did a lumbar puncture and sent off for a Spinal fluid culture. The results came back and my Red blood cell count is really high. Has anyone had this, or know why my red cell count would be so high? Is it something I should worry about? I've been referred to a neurologist BUT the earliest appointment available is November. Thanks for any and all input!

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bdenny9683, it is unusual to have red blood cells in spinal fluid. Could be that they hit a blood vessel with the puncture needle. It is possible to have cerebral hemmorage, but I'm betting they hit a vessel partly because it's "really high." Waiting is difficult. You should be able to get a procedural report from wherever they did the puncture, but It may not mention hitting the vessel. Place questions with all providers involved. Be certain that all of your medical providers are aware of the headache and neck pain.If cerebral hemmorage were suspected, you wouldn't wait until November.


Have you had brain and cervical spine MRIs with/without contrast before they did the lumbar puncture? It seems they are looking for infection but they may have compressed something which is now causing headaches and neck pain.


I have had a brain MRI done, which is how they are keeping an eye on the ventricles in my brain. I haven't had a cervical MRI which I may recommend to them and see what they think! They said all blood work and testing has came back good except for the Red blood cell, it was abnormal. My neurosurgeon has referred me to a neurologist but there first availability is November! So I'm looking into referrals for somewhere else.


Unfortunately some people have a very high red blood cell count. Some people have to have blood drawn and disposed of. Is there any research to determine why your red cells are high? I’m hoping and praying the best for you.

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