Mean corpuscular volume (MCV) is a value related to your red blood cells.
If your MCV goes up, it could indicate:
- Low vitamin B12 level
- Folate deficiency (folic acid is a nutrient)
- Liver disease
- Carbon monoxide poisoning
- Aplastic anemia (a condition where the body stops producing sufficient red blood cells)
- Cold agglutinin disease (a condition where the body’s immune system attacks your red blood cells and destroys them)
- Chronic hypoxia (low oxygen levels in the blood)
- Benign familial macrocytosis (high MCV level due to a genetic defect)
- Myelodysplastic syndrome (a group of disorders caused when something disrupts the production of blood cells)
A higher MCV value indicates that the red blood cells are larger than the average size.
What is MCV?
The mean corpuscular volume (MCV) measures the average size of the red blood cells. The average MCV ranges from 80 to 100 femtoliters (fL). There are three conditions associated with MCV, which include:
- Microcytic: MCV level below 80 fL
- Normocytic: MCV level between 80 and 100 fL
- Macrocytic: MCV level above 100 fL
A low or high MCV level may indicate health issues. MCV is calculated according to the following formula:
MCV is the most useful indicator to diagnose anemia. MCV values seem to be higher than average in people taking zidovudine or in people with vitamin B12 and folic acid deficiencies.
MCV can help narrow down possible diagnoses.
What is the purpose of an MCV test?
The physician may order a mean corpuscular volume (MCV) test if you exhibit these symptoms of a blood disorder:
The physician may also order an MCV test to differentiate several types of anemia. MCV also helps detect abnormalities with white blood cells or platelet.
What else does MCV diagnose?
Apart from anemia, the mean corpuscular volume (MCV) test also helps
- Forecast mortality in esophageal cancer.
- Estimate prognosis with chronic kidney disease.
- Predict the efficiency of chemotherapy and radiation with rectal cancer.
- Evaluate cognitive function (a higher MCV in older adults is associated with inferior cognitive function).
Researchers have found that patients with kidney disease and high MCV levels were at greater risk of death. They are over 3.5 times more likely to suffer from heart disease than those who had a normal MCV.
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