medRxiv. 2023 Sep 28:2023.09.26.23296146. doi: 10.1101/2023.09.26.23296146. Preprint.
The complete blood count is an important screening tool for healthy adults and is the most commonly ordered test at periodic physical exams. However, results are usually interpreted relative to one-size-fits-all reference intervals, undermining the goal of precision medicine to tailor medical care to the needs of individual patients based on their unique characteristics. Here we show that standard complete blood count indices in healthy adults have robust homeostatic setpoints that are patient-specific and stable, with the typical healthy adult’s set of 9 blood count setpoints distinguishable from 98% of others, and with these differences persisting for decades. These setpoints reflect a deep physiologic phenotype, enabling improved detection of both acquired and genetic determinants of hematologic regulation, including discovery of multiple novel loci via GWAS analyses. Patient-specific reference intervals derived from setpoints enable more accurate personalized risk assessment, and the setpoints themselves are significantly correlated with mortality risk, providing new opportunities to enhance patient-specific screening and early intervention. This study shows complete blood count setpoints are sufficiently stable and patient-specific to help realize the promise of precision medicine for healthy adults.