RBC indices

RBC Indices: An Overview

RBC indices, also known as Reticulated Basophilic Cell Indices, are a set of medical tests used to measure the amount of hemoglobin and cell components in a red blood cell count sample. They are typically used to diagnose anemia and other conditions that affect the health of the red blood cells.

RBC indices are typically part of a full CBC, or Complete Blood Count, and help provide a profile of a patient's health by examining the size, shape, and hemoglobin content of the red blood cells.

Preparation for RBC Indices Testing

No preparation is usually required for RBC indices testing. Doctors may advise patients to fast or avoid certain medications prior to testing, though this is not necessary in most cases.

Procedure for RBC Indices Testing

The procedure for RBC indices testing is relatively simple and painless. The patient will have some of their blood drawn, usually from their arm, into a small tube. This is then sent to a laboratory for processing and analysis.

Types of RBC Indices

There are several types of RBC indices, which measure different aspects of the red blood cells. These include:

  • Mean Corpuscular Volume (MCV): measures the average volume of red blood cells, indicating how large the cells are.
  • Mean Corpuscular Hemoglobin (MCH): measures the amount of hemoglobin in the cell, which is critical to its ability to carry oxygen.
  • Mean Corpuscular Hemoglobin Concentration (MCHC): measures the concentration of hemoglobin in the cell.
  • Red Cell Distribution Width (RDW): measures the amount of variation in the size of the cells.

Risks of RBC Indices Testing

RBC indices testing is a safe and routine procedure, and involves minimal risks to the patient. The most common risks associated with the procedure are:

  • Bruising or swelling where the blood was taken
  • Mild discomfort during the blood draw
  • Infection at the site where the blood was taken

Why Do Doctors Order RBC Indices Testing?

RBC indices testing helps doctors diagnose anemia and other conditions that affect the number and quality of the red blood cells. It can show if a patient has too few red blood cells, if they are abnormally shaped, or if the hemoglobin content is abnormally low. This information helps doctors to determine the cause of the condition and plan an appropriate course of treatment.

When Is RBC Indices Testing Ordered?

RBC indices testing is typically ordered as part of a full CBC, which is usually done as part of regular check-ups or when a patient experiences symptoms that may be associated with a red blood cell disorder. It can also be ordered if further testing is needed to diagnose anemia or other conditions that affect the red blood cells.