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Red blood cell indices

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.[1]

Mean corpuscular volume

Mean corpuscular volume (MCV) is the average size of a red blood cell and is calculated by dividing the hematocrit (Hct) by the red blood cell count.

  • <math>MCV = \frac{Hct}{RBC}</math> x 10
  • Normal range: 80-100 fL

Mean corpuscular hemoglobin

Mean corpuscular hemoglobin (MCH) is the average amount of hemoglobin (Hb) per red blood cell and is calculated by dividing the hemoglobin by the red blood cell count.

  • <math>MCH = \frac{Hb}{RBC}</math> x 10
  • Normal range: 27-31 pg/cell

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Mean corpuscular hemoglobin concentration

Mean corpuscular hemoglobin concentration (MCHC) is the average concentration of hemoglobin per unit volume of red blood cells and is calculated by dividing the hemoglobin by the hematocrit.

  • <math>MCHC = \frac{Hb}{Hct}</math> x 100
  • Normal range: 32-36 g/dL

Worked example

Measure Units Conventional units Conversion
Hct 40%
Hb 100 grams/liter 10 grams/deciliter (deci- is 10−1)
RBC 5E+12 cells/liter 5E+6 cells/μL (micro is 10−6)
MCV = Hct / RBC 8E-14 liters/cell 80 femtoliters/cell (femto- is 10−15)
MCH = Hb / RBC 2E-11 grams/cell 20 picograms/cell (pico- is 10−12)
MCHC = MCH / MCV 250 grams/liter 25 grams/deciliter (deci is 10−1)

References