Also commonly called red blood cell indices or RBC indices, the erythrocyte indices are a set of clinically useful parameters calculated from measurements of erythrocytes. These are commonly reported as part of a complete blood count.
These are computed from the three basic measurements on erythrocytes:
- Hemoglobin (Hgb), in grams per 100ml
- Hematocrit (Hct), a percentage
- Red blood cell count (RBC), millions per cubic micrometer
Mean corpuscular volume
Usually called MCV, this is the average volume enclosed by a red cell, reported as femtograms and calculated as:
MCV = 10 x (Hematocrit / Red Blood Cell Count)
Some automated blood analyzers measure it directly, rather than calculate it.
It is especially useful in the differential diagnosis of anemia. The basic classification of MCV, using approximate values, is:
- <80: Microcytic
- 80-100: Normocytic
- >100: Macrocytic
Exact cutoffs for each range vary with the patient's age and sex, and both laboratory method and expert opinion. For example, a number of hematologists use < 78 as the beginning of the microcytic range.
Mean corpuscular hemoglobin
Not widely used as a clinical measurement, this is the average weight of hemoglobin per erythrocyte, measured in picograms.
MCH = (Hgb * 10)/RBC
Mean corpuscular hemoglobin concentration
A calculation of the mean amount of hemoglobin per erythrocyte in a specified volume of blood; the amount of hemoglobin relative to the size of the cell, reported in grams per deciliter
MCHC = (Hgb * 100) / Hct
- Hypochromic: < 32
- Normochromic: 32-36
- Hyperchromic: > 36
Basic clinical evaluation
These are approximate rules. A given patient with iron deficiency anemia, for example, may present with microcytic but normochromic values.
|MCHC||Microcytic MCV||Normocytic MCV||Macrocytic MCV|
Mentzer Index = MCV / RBC Count