Bandemia is a medical term that refers to an elevated level of band cells, or immature white blood cells, in the circulatory system, as noted in a lecture published on the A.T. Still University website. Band cells are also referred to as white blood cell precursors, band neutrophils or stab cells. The normal adult reference range for band cells is about 3 percent of the total white blood cell count, and elevated levels generally indicate the presence of inflammation.
The presence of elevated levels of band cells is often referred to as "a shift to the left" in the test results obtained through a white blood cell differential count.
The release of immature band cells into the bloodstream is typically a first response to the presence of an infection. This elevated band cell count is an early indicator of inflammation that can occur prior to the overall white blood cell count becoming elevated, as noted on the Brookside Associates OB-GYN 101 website.