Reticulocyte hemoglobin content

Measures the amount of hemoglobin in reticulocytes.

Is an early, direct measurement of available iron for erythropoiesis.

Has greater sensitivity and specificity for diagnosing iron deficiency than traditional iron measurements.

Reticulocytes are the earliest erythrocytes released into blood and circulate for only 1 to 2 days, andthe reticulocyte hemoglobin content provides a measure of iron available to red cells recently produced by the bone marrow.

An early indicator of iron-restricted erythropoiesis in patients receiving erythropoietin therapy and is a strong predictor of iron deficiency in children.

Values less than 26 pg associated with iron deficiency and these patients’ reticulocyte counts are likely to increase in response to iron therapy.

At a level of 26 pg it has a sensitivity of 100% and a specificity of 80% in diagnosing iron deficiency.

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