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Old 03-17-2012
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RBC Why RDW high in Iron deficiency anemia

Can someone please explain to me what RDW means and why RDW is raised in iron deficiency anemia, while it is normal in the other microcytic anemias?
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Old 03-18-2012
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I think you would find the answer in Goljan where it is mentioned clearly.....
Here is what i can recall now : RDW means red cell distribution width i.e. Whether there is any variation in the size of peripheral RBC.....it is only significant when it is increased which usually occurs only microcytic anemia Fe deficiency anemia......when you will get a dimorphic blood picture>presence of RBC both microcyte and macrocyte probably patient having concurrent vit B12 deficiency/folic acid deficiency or has received fe therapy recently. But other microcytic anemia is devoid of this kind of picture you know that already i think......hope i make it clear
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Old 03-18-2012
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a large RDW means theres a lot of variation in the size of the RBCs, that the size of RBCs seen ranges from small to large.

iron deficiency anemia, if i recall correctly, has 2 phases; first is normocytic, and then it becomes microcytic. hence, theres a large variation in sizes of RBCs you see.
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