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Subject: Red Cell Distribution Width (RDW)
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RDW is a coefficient of variation of the distribution of individual RBC volume.
Normal range: 12.1–14 fL.
An elevation in RDW is useful in drawing attention to anisocytosis, a marker for various anemias.
The RDW is particularly helpful in separating iron deficiency anemia (high RDW, normal to low MCV) from β-thalassemia trait (normal RDW, low MCV).
Increased RDW is also useful in identifying red cell fragmentation, agglutination, or dimorphic cell populations.
Very high WBC, numerous large platelets, and autoagglutination result in falsely elevated RDW.