Red blood cell indices are blood tests that provide information about the hemoglobin content and size of red blood cells. Abnormal values indicate the presence of anemia and which type of anemia it is. The page below is a sample from the LabCE course Describing a Red Blood Cell Population Using RBC Indices and Red Cell Distribution Width. Access the. Red blood cell indices are calculations that provide information on the physical characteristics of the RBCs: Mean corpuscular volume (MCV) is.


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There are many different causes of anemia e. Your RBCs are normally all the same color, size, and shape.

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However, certain conditions can cause variations that impair their ability to function properly. Your doctor can use RBC indices to help diagnose the cause of anemia.

Anemia is a common blood disorder in which you have too few, misshapen, or poorly functional RBCs. Clinical Significance Anemias may be red cell indices based on their etiology e. Red cell indices are valuable in the morphologic classification of anemias.

Blood cell indices - MCV and MCHC

Since different etiologic factors result in characteristically different red cell morphology, the clinician can properly plan the management of a patient with an anemia if he can interpret the blood counts and peripheral blood smear well.

Microcytic red cell indices were also often described as being hypochromic based on peripheral smear examination and MCHC when this red cell indices was determined manually.

The optical properties of the small, thin microcytes make them appear hypochromic on the blood smear, while the hemoglobin concentration remains in the normal range microcytic, normochromic anemias. There are no hyperchromic anemias.

RBC Indices

In spherocytosis, the MCHC is increased due to loss of membrane and the consequent spherical shape assumed by the cell. The general availability of RDW as a red cell indices of anisocytosis helps further in the evaluation of anemias based on morphology see Table It should be pointed out again that an evaluation of anemias is red cell indices complete without the careful examination of a well-prepared peripheral blood smear.

Red cell indices, RDW, and red blood cell histograms will not help identify conditions such as red cell inclusions e. Am J Clin Pathol. Too early to put down RDW for discriminating iron deficiency and thalassemia. Spurious results from automated hematology cell counters.

red cell indices

Red blood cell indices - Wikipedia

Macrocytic anemia may be due to low folate or B12 levels, or chemotherapy. Hypochromic anemia often due to low iron levels.


Normochromic anemia may be due to sudden blood loss, long-term diseases, kidney failure, aplastic anemia, or man-made heart valves. Hyperchromic anemia may be due to low folate or B12 levels, or chemotherapy. Risks There is little red cell indices involved with having your blood taken.


Veins and arteries vary in size from one person to another, and from one side of the body to the other. Reporting units is picograms pg. One picogram is 10 grams.

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