Mean Corpuscular Volume (MCV)

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Mean Corpuscular Volume (MCV, Mean Cell Volume)

The mean corpuscular volume (MCV) is a measure of the average volume of red blood cells. It is expressed in femtoliters (fl) or cubic micrometers (µm3).

The MCV shows a more accurate size of red blood cells than when they are studied with a regular microscope. Nevertheless, the MCV is not a reliable marker in case of a high number of deformed red blood cells.

In patients with anemia, the mean corpuscular volume allows classification as either a microcytic anemia, normocytic anemia or macrocytic anemia. Microcytic anemia is associated with iron deficiency, sideroblastic anemia, thalassemia. When there is a deficiency of folic acid or vitamin B12, macrocytic anemia occurs. Normocytic anemias include hemolytic anemia, hemoglobinopathy, aplastic anemia, and anemia due to bleeding.

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