The Complete Blood Count (CBC) is one of the most frequently performed laboratory tests. Many diseases can cause abnormalities in the Red Blood Cell (RBC) count; therefore, RBC concentration, as part of CBC, is frequently used in the diagnostic phase for many conditions and as a screening test.
The most important clinical applications of RBC enumeration are the diagnosis and assessment of the severity and management of anemia in both acute (surgery, trauma, hemolysis), and chronic conditions (hematological malignancies, chronic inflammatory conditions, kidney disease, nutritional deficiencies, inherited red cell anomalies and hemoglobinopathies, etc.), as well as the diagnosis and management polycythemia. In addition to the RBC count, RBC indices (Mean Cell Volume: MCV; Mean Cell Hemoglobin: MCH; and Mean Cell Hemoglobin Concentration: MCHC) provide useful information in these conditions. Although the classification of anemias has traditionally been based on these indices2, it has now generally been replaced by classification based on etiopathogenetic, biochemical, and genetic information3. Nonetheless, RBC indices remain important screening and confirmatory tools and are helpful in assessing the severity and monitoring of anemias.
Current hematology analyzers utilize impedance, optical technology or both (sometimes in a reflex testing setting) for counting and volume measurements of RBCs.
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