A high red cell distribution width (RDW) test means that red blood cells vary widely in size. Abnormal cell widths are often associated with anemia, liver disease and folate deficiency.
The red cell distribution width (RDW) test is usually performed as part of a complete blood count (CBC), which doctors order to understand the overall health of a person's blood. While the complete blood count measures many components of the bloodstream, the RDW test only evaluates the range of widths among red blood cells.
It is often used along with the mean corpuscular volume (MCV) test to get a more accurate picture of red blood cell health.
The MCV measures the volume of red blood cells in the body. These tests are usually ordered for patients with anemia, as they help doctors determine what kind of anemia a patient has.
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