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  • White blood cell differential

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  • Red blood cell distribution width

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    Human red blood cellsRed blood cell distribution width (RDW or RDW-CV or RCDW and RDW-SD) is a measure of the range of variation of red blood cell (RBC) volume that is reported as part of a standard complete blood count. Usually red blood cells are a standard size of about 6-8 μm in diameter. Certain disorders, however, cause a significant variation in cell size. Higher RDW values indicate greater variation in size. Normal reference range of RDW-CV in human red blood cells is 11.5-14.5%. If anemia is observed, RDW test results are often used together with mean corpuscular volume (MCV) results to determine the possible causes of the anemia. It is mainly used to differentiate an anemia of mixed causes from an anemia of a single cause. Deficiencies of Vitamin B12 or folate produce a macrocytic anemia (large cell anemia) in which the RDW is elevated in roughly two-thirds of all cases. However, a varied size distribution of red blood cells is a hallmark of iron deficiency anemia, and as such shows an increased RDW in virtually all cases. In the case of both iron and B12 deficiencies, there will normally be a mix of both large cells and small cells, causing the RDW to be elevated. An elevated RDW (red blood cells of unequal sizes) is known as anisocytosis. An elevation in the RDW is not characteristic of all anemias. Anemia of chronic disease, hereditary spherocytosis, acute blood loss, aplastic anemia (anemia resulting from an inability of the bone marrow to produce red blood cells), and certain hereditary hemoglobinopathies (including some cases of thalassemia minor) may all present with a normal RDW.

  • Complete blood count

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    A complete blood count (CBC), also known as a complete blood cell count, full blood count (FBC), or full blood exam (FBE), is a blood panel requested by a doctor or other medical professional that gives information about the cells in a patient's blood, such as the cell count for each blood cell type and the concentrations of hemoglobin. A scientist or lab technician performs the requested testing and provides the requesting medical professional with the results of the CBC. Blood counts of various types have been used for clinical purposes since the nineteenth century. Automated equipment to carry out complete blood counts was developed in the 1950s and 1960s. Most blood counts today include a CBC count (i.e.: complete blood count) and leukocyte differential count (LDC) that gives the percentage of each WBC type, such as neutrophils, eosinophils, basophils, monocytes, and lymphocytes). The cells that circulate in the bloodstream are generally divided into three types: white blood cells (leukocytes), red blood cells (erythrocytes), and platelets (thrombocytes).

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