What is the role of reticulocyte count in the diagnosis of anemia of chronic disease and renal failure?

Updated: Nov 27, 2018
  • Author: Edgar V Lerma, MD, FACP, FASN, FAHA, FASH, FNLA, FNKF; Chief Editor: Emmanuel C Besa, MD  more...
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Answer

Answer

A low reticulocyte count usually points to decreased RBC production as the primary mechanism responsible for anemia, whereas an elevated reticulocyte count points to increased RBC destruction or hemolysis as the most likely cause.

Although decreased RBC production is the main mechanism in both anemia of chronic illness and anemia of chronic kidney disease, oftentimes the anemia is due to a combination of events, including concomitant blood loss. Therefore, a reticulocyte count should always be interpreted with caution.


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