Test Detail
Interpreting Results

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Written by
Dr. Shreya Gupta
BDS, MDS - Oral and Maxillofacial Pathology
Reviewed by
Dr. Ashish Ranjan
MBBS, MD (Pharmacology)
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Absolute Eosinophil Count

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This test is for
Male, Female
Test Preparation
  1. No special preparation required


What is AEC?

Absolute Eosinophil Count (AEC) is a blood test that measures the number of eosinophils in your body. Eosinophils are a type of disease-fighting white blood cells (WBC) that become active in case of an infection, allergic disease, and drug reaction.
Eosinophils levels beyond normal can be indicative of an autoimmune disease, seasonal allergies, asthma, and parasitic infections. An abnormally low eosinophil count can be the result of intoxication from alcohol or excessive production of cortisol. The low levels of eosinophils are generally not a concern.

Why is AEC done?

The absolute eosinophil count is done:

  • In case of signs or symptoms such as red itchy eyes, coughing, nasal congestion, asthma, dermatitis, or abdominal pain which may suggest an allergy to one or more substances. 

  • In the case of parasitic infections

  • In the early stages of Cushing’s disease

  • To diagnose the acute hypereosinophilic syndrome

What does AEC Measure?

The absolute eosinophil count measures the number of eosinophils present in the blood. Eosinophils, a  type of white blood cells, helps in fighting the disease. These come into action for are said to be linked with certain infections and allergic diseases. The eosinophils are produced and mature in the bone marrow. They usually take about 8 days to mature and then are moved to blood vessels.

The eosinophils have varied functions which include the physiological role in organ formation such as the development of post-gestational mammary gland. Other functions include its movement to the areas of inflammation, trapping substances, killing cells, bactericidal and anti-parasitic activity. It also helps the treatment of immediate allergic reactions and modulation of inflammatory responses.

Interpreting AEC results


The absolute eosinophil count ranges from 0.02 - 0.50 thou/mm3.

Answers to Patient Concerns & Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about AEC

Frequently Asked Questions about Absolute Eosinophil Count

Q. Is there any preparation required before the test?
Inform the doctor about the medications you may be taking. No other specific preparations are usually required before this test.
Q. How is the blood sample taken?
The healthcare provider takes a blood sample from the arm. The site from where the blood is to be withdrawn is cleaned with a swab of rubbing alcohol. This is then followed by inserting a small needle which has a tube attached to it for collecting blood. Once the sufficient blood for analysis is withdrawn, the needle is removed. The site is then covered with a gauze pad.
Q. Is there any risk associated with the withdrawal of blood sample procedure?
As such there is no risk but in few cases, bruising, bleeding, and infection at the puncture site can be seen. In very few cases, there can be swelling of the vein after the blood is withdrawn.
Q. What do abnormal results of absolute eosinophil count mean?
The results of eosinophil count may show increased levels in case of adrenal gland deficiency, allergic diseases including hay fever, asthma, autoimmune diseases, eczema, fungal infections, hypereosinophilic syndrome, lymphoma, parasitic infection (e.g., worms, leukemia), and other blood disorders. Whereas, the results may show a decrease in the levels of absolute eosinophil count in case of alcohol intoxication and overproduction of steroids such as cortisol in the body.
Q. What is an eosinophilic disorder?
Eosinophilic disorder is a condition in which there is increased production of eosinophils on the site of injury. This excess production causes release of toxins, which leads to chronic inflammation. As a result, severe damage is caused to the tissue. Depending upon the site at which the eosinophils are elevated, the conditions are named such as eosinophilic esophagitis (esophagus), eosinophilic gastritis (stomach), eosinophilic gastroenteritis (stomach and small intestine), eosinophilic enteritis (small intestine), eosinophilic colitis (large intestine) and hypereosinophilic syndrome (blood and any organ).
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