Red blood cell distribution width (RDW)

The coefficient of variation of the MCV, represents the degree of size variation in red blood cell population.

Increased in iron deficiency anemia and hemolysis and normal in anemia of chronic disease.

Automated measure of red blood cell size heterogeneity, routinely performed as part of a complete blood cell count.

A higher level may be associated with an increased mortality.

The National Examination Survey of 15,852 participants followed for a median of 8.7 years revealed an independent prediction for all-cause mortality, as well as cardiovascular, cancer and chronic lung disease mortality.

Elevated red blood cell distribution with with a low MCV is related to iron deficiency, beta-thalassemia, anemia of inflammation, glucose-six-phosphate dehydrogenase, and fragmented red blood cells ( Wallach JB).

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