Which lab test findings suggest anemia?

Updated: Oct 08, 2018
  • Author: Joseph E Maakaron, MD; Chief Editor: Emmanuel C Besa, MD  more...
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Answer

Methods for measuring RBC mass are time consuming and expensive and usually require transfusion of radiolabeled erythrocytes. Thus, in practice, anemia is usually discovered and quantified by measurement of the RBC count, Hb concentration, and hematocrit (Hct). These values should be interpreted cautiously, because they are concentrations affected by changes in plasma volume. For example, dehydration elevates these values, and increased plasma volume in pregnancy can diminish them without affecting the RBC mass. (See Workup.)


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