What are possible etiologies of macrocytosis?

Updated: Dec 16, 2018
  • Author: Vincent E Herrin, MD, FACP; Chief Editor: Emmanuel C Besa, MD  more...
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Answer

Macrocytosis in patients with COPD is attributed to excess cell water secondary to carbon dioxide retention.

Benign familial macrocytosis is an inherited syndrome in which patients have mild asymptomatic macrocytosis. [14]

Macrocytosis of liver disease is secondary to increased cholesterol and phospholipids deposited on membranes of circulating erythrocytes. This deposition effectively increases the surface area of the erythrocyte.

Hypothyroidism is a manifestation of hormone deficiency. More commonly, hypothyroid patients exhibit a normocytic anemia.

Artifactual elevation of the MCV must be considered in certain patients, although this occurs less frequently with newer cell-counting machines. Hyperglycemia and cold agglutinins may cause artificially elevated MCVs.


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