Red Blood Cell Indices (MCV,MCH and MCHC) Clinical Significance

2 Likes Comment
Red blood cells indices MLTGEEKS

If you have been using the automated hematology analyzer,I’m pretty sure you might have come across these MCV,MCH and MCHC.These parameters are very useful in automated and manual hematology.They are called Red Blood Cells indices and are useful blood tests that provide hematological information about haemoglobin and the size of red blood cells.

Red blood cells functions in the transportation of Oxygen and Carbon Dioxide in the blood stream or circulatory system.A deficiency or abnormalities of Red blood cells is a serious threat to life and an indication of the presence of Anemia.

The uses of Red blood cells indices provides information on Anemia and  the types of Anaemia.

MCV (Mean Cells Volume)

  • Also known as Mean Corpuscular Volume which is the average volume of a red blood cells and it is measured in femto litres (fl) where by a femto litres is 10-15of a Litres
  • It has a reference range of 80 – 10 fl
  • It is usually calculated by dividing the hematocrit(HCT) by the concentration of red blood cells  OR determined from the PCV and the electronically obtained RBC count as follow
Calculating MCV
Calculating MCV

Clinical Significance of MCV

Low MCVRaised MCV
Microcytic anaemia Macrocytic anaemias (Folate deficiency)
Iron deficiency AnaemiaMark reticulocytosis
Anaemia of chronic diseaseChronic Alcoholism

Note that

  • MCV is low in children that is about 70 fl at 1 years of age
  • MCV is raised in newborn babies

MCH (Mean Cells Haemoglobin)

Also known as Mean Corpuscular Haemoglobin and it is the average amount of haemoglobin (Hb) per RBC.

  • It is obtained by dividing haemoglobin by RBC count.
  • It is measured in picograms (pg) where by a pg is 10-12  of a gram
  • It has a reference range of 27 – 32 pg/cell
Calculating MCH

Calculating MCH

Clinical Significance of MCH

Low MCHRaised MCH
Microcytic red cellsMacrocytic anaemias
hypochromic anaemia (Iron deficiency)Macrocytic Normochromic anaemia (Folate deficiency anemia)
In Thalassaemia minorMCH is also raised in newborn babies
Also read  Erythrocyte Sedimentation Rate (ESR) Principle,Procedure and clinical significance

MCHC (Mean Cell Haemoglobin Concentration)

Also known as Mean Corpuscular Haemoglobin Concentration

  • It is the average concentration of haemoglobin per unit volume of RBC
  • It is usually calculated by dividing the haemoglobin by the hematocrit OR by diving the haemoglobin by PCV (Packed Cell Volume)
  • It has a reference range of 32-36 g/dl
Calculating MCHC

Calculating MCHC

Clinical Significance of MCHC

Iron Deficiency AnemiaMarked spherocytosis but this is a rare condition
Microcytic hypochromic anaemia Raised MCHC is mostly due to calculation error or an incorrect haemoglobin or PCV


  • Monica cheesbrough part 2 p.313

How useful was this post?

Click on a star to rate it!

Average rating 1.5 / 5. Vote count: 2

No votes so far! Be the first to rate this post.

As you found this post useful...

Follow us on social media!

We are sorry that this post was not useful for you!

Let us improve this post!

Tell us how we can improve this post?

You might like

About the Author: Arthur Westmann

DEFFE ARTHUR (AMOEBAMANN) is the founder and author of MLTGEEKS and MLTEXPO.He’s from Cameroon and is currently a Final year State Medical Laboratory Technician (MLT MA). Beyond lab works, he’s a passionate internet user with a keen interest in web design and blogging. Furthermore He likes traveling, hanging around with friends and social networking to do in his spare time.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *